Aziza Brahim in London (SOAS, St Ethelburga’s, World Heart Beat Music Academy) April 24-26 2013
By Marco Canepari
“We have to bear in mind our story, we need to have it in front of our eyes. Because it’s only if we talk about it, only if we spread it over, it can reach the world and we won’t be a ghost population anymore.”
Aziza Brahim is, today, one of the loudest voices of her people. She’s determined and assertive. Every time she talks about Sahrawis, her eyes shine, shivering with passion. She’s the essence of her people.
Vinicio Capossela – KOKO, London, April 12 2013
By Marco Canepari
‘Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide… Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted.’ That’s the incipit of a three millennium old travel tale, a journey, a home-going, which has become the central theme of one of the most celebrated literary works ever written.
Homer, in his Odyssey, narrated the vicissitudes of Ulysses after his departure from Troy and through the Mediterranean, docking in Turkey, Crimea, Palestine, Greece, Italy, Spain… But the most important route which Ulysses sailed, the one guiding him back home, was across the Ionian Sea, reaching the island of Ithaca.
Squarepusher – Roundhouse, London, March 30 2013
By Gary Lewis
As Chuck D politely inquired: “Bass. How low can you go?” In the case of Tom Jenkinson as Squarepusher, the answer is lower than Frankie Boyle on Twitter; warped, nose-hair tickling, frenetic bass that was fully evident at his recent Roundhouse gig.
Much has been made of the rise of the AV spectacular: Amon Tobin, Deadmaus, Skrillex, going back to Chemical Brothers and Orbital. Yes, dance music is pretty boring just watching dudes behind a desk doing their knob twiddly thing, though Fatboy Slim does pack a lot of energy and some awesome Hawaiian shirts into the equation! But visuals and music obviously best work together when both are good.
Wolf People – Bedford Esquires, March 28 2013
By Iain Orkisz
‘Underrated’. Now there’s an overused term virtually stripped of any true meaning when referring to bands or musicians yet to gain wider media coverage or critical acclaim. If anything this usually leads to disproportionate exposure and proclamations about their value to their chosen art (Razorlight, anyone?)
Alas, in the spirit of such proclamations, Wolf People are the best pigeonhole-proof collective you’ve probably yet to discover, but with their second album Fain released on the April 29 for which writer and comedian Stewart Lee has provided a wonderful and imaginatively-titled ‘non press release’ (which can be viewed here, since you asked), and a session for BBC 6Music’s Marc Riley, the band’s stock is slowly but surely rising. Like the non-pantomime elements of progressive rock? This is for you. Like earthy folk-rooted lyrical melancholy akin to Led Zeppelin? Open your ears.
We Were Evergreen – Village Underground, London, March 6th 2013
By Gary Lewis
Hmmm, the name De La Soul sounds a little French. Maybe their hit should have been called (trois est) le nombre magique, because We Were Evergreen, the French trio, now living in London, sprinkled a bucketload of their Gallic magic over the surprisingly receptive hipster crowd at Village Underground, Shoreditch.
Wednesday night is neither here nor there, but a packed room were there to enjoy We Were Evergreen like they were on a free weekend away in Paris. The band has slowly been building a head of steam since 2010, with their personal blend of exotic rhythms, gorgeous harmonies and a smattering of dance beats.
Voices of Syria – St. Ethelburga’s Centre, London, February 2 2013
By Marco Canepari
It’s quite hard to say if it’s because of the continuous evolution of the Syrian situation, its up-to-date and dramatic nature lying at the heart of Londoners or because of the lure of the absolute artistic values of Louai Al-Henawi and his equally skilled ensemble. But, it’s a matter of fact, St. Ethelburga’s Centre is overcrowded, filled to the brim by music lovers and Middle Eastern culture enthusiasts.
And it couldn’t be otherwise considering the artistic dynamism of the performance presented on-stage.
Diwan, a creative project born in 2006, through its show Voices of Syria, crosses the border of usual music gigs. It goes up the stream of Middle Eastern cultural and traditional history unveiling original influences and flavours.
Sahara Soul (Bassekou Kouyaté, Sidi Touré and Tamikrest) – London’s Barbican, January 26 2013
By Rachel Jackson
The evening began with the three headliners – Bassekou Kouyaté, Sidi Touré and Tamikrest frontman Ousmane Ag Mossa – taking centre stage to play a pining collaborative blues improvisation titled ‘Peace for Mali’. Bassekou naturally seemed like the leader, standing tall in his draping robes and introducing his lesser-known colleagues to the teeming Barbican hall.
Flamingods – Green Door Store, Brighton, January 17 2013
By Woodrow Whyte
Everyone’s getting a bit tired of the ‘death of guitar music/the return of rock!’ debate. Endlessly boring and factually inaccurate, it’s rather like having to sit through another dire episode of Downton Abbey. If you’d asked any audience member at the Flamingods show at the Green Door Store in Brighton last week whether a) guitar music was dead or b) it’s having a resurgence; they would’ve probably laughed in your face. Or at least drone on and on about their favourite DIY record label until you’d faint from exhaustion.
Serafina Steer – St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch, London, January 24 2013
By Samuel Spencer
Last Thursday night, I did something I never thought I’d be doing again; I went to church. No, I haven’t had any sudden spiritual conversion. I did ‘see the light’, but the lights in question were the red, blue and green stage lights illuminating Serafina Steer, launching her album with a sold-out gig in St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch.