Set to play WOMAD this year, multi-award winning Afro-pop songstress Wiyaala has come a long way since her humble background growing up in the small Ghanaian village of Funsi.
“She’s the only woman in the world singing in Sissala – and she will mesmerize you”
“Wiyaala is a feisty young woman from northern Ghana, bursting with attitude and drive”
BBC News – World – Africa
– Africa on the Blog
The last few years have seen Wiyaala rise from rags to riches. Now on the cusp of becoming a worldwide star, the singer hopes to inspire others by spreading her message of love and peace, whilst also raising awareness of the injustices still taking place to this day in third-world countries all over the world.
Her new self-titled album Wiyaala has already received nationwide success in Ghana. She now hopes to establish a global audience.
Stream the single ‘Peace’ from the album here on Soundcloud:
The record is a selection of vibrant Afro-pop anthems sung largely in Sissala, but with a poppy catchiness inspired by Western Culture.
As the singer explains: ‘My album is the product of my environment as a young girl growing up in a West African Village at a time when the influences of Western TV and video first impacted on the African villager …You are hearing my African heritage fusing with the sounds and techniques of western production.’
Wiyaala rose to recognition after coming first place in a 2012 Vodafone Icons reality show as part of the group Black n Peach, a year earlier emerging as the second runner-up in Ghana’s Stars of the Future talent show. She has become famous despite little radio airplay, rejecting the music industry’s ruthless commercialist side and becoming famous as a result of her live performances and what she stands for. Grace Jones, Tina Turner and Angelique Kidjo are artists that she is sometimes compared to.
Often referred to as the ‘Young Lioness of Africa’, she has become renowned for her activism, working to abolish child marriage and abuse in her home continent as well as campaigning for women’s right to education – freedoms that we take for granted here in the Western world.
Her fierce ideals are a result of her impoverished upbringing and being a first-hand witness to social injustice. ‘At school, I have seen young teenage girls pulled out of the classroom to be married off. The next time you see them they are pregnant and selling pepper in the market… When I was small, we were often hungry. Sometimes we would catch a mouse, roast it and share it amongst 3 or 4 children.’
She is currently working on projects with The Ministry of Gender and Child Protection and UNCEF in Ghana.
Her debut album ‘Wiyaala’ is out now
Stream the single ‘Timbanayi’ from the album here on Soundcloud:
"Infused with slowly unfurling, hypnotic loops, menacingly creeping to fast-paced electronics, trip-hop-inflected beats, winding to shimmering synths, a plethora of melodic noise, and Maddox’s broodingly hazy, lightly dazed vocals" - Jen Dan, Rebel Noise
Alternative electronic maverick producer Dean Garcia, the musical mastermind behind seminal alternative rock band Curve and electronic dream pop duo SPC ECO, has joined forces with Preston Maddox of post-punk noise-rock band Bloody Knives in a new project, called S T F U.
Their debut LP ‘What We Want’, slated for release on July 29, is laced with unfolding hypnotic loops that gradually progress to uptempo electronics, trip-hop laden beats, lush noise entwined with shimmering synths, and Maddox’s hazy trance-like vocals.
The title track ‘What We Want’ is also the first single. “My favorite thing about this track is it has a filthy quality to it that is essential, like being immersed in the pollution of our dystopian future where everything is covered in layers and layers of filth,” says Preston Maddox.
“W W W took about three months from beginning to end to conceive and record. Without a doubt, this is the most painless and connected record I have made outside of my close family. A surprising inspiring and joyful set of events and recordings,” explains Dean Garcia. “It kind of made itself as in there was never any doubt or soul searching as to what it should could or want to be. It just was its own self from start to finish, we just made it happen."
Apart from his nearly 15-year history with Curve and his decade long project SPC ECO with daughter Rose Berlin, Dean Garcia has also toured the world several times and recorded multiple albums with such established artists as Eurythmics, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, Bryan Ferry, Sinead O'Connor and Ian Dury. Apart from Preston Maddox's involvement in Bloody Knives and S T F U, he will also be playing bass with UK punk band Conflict on their upcoming US tour.
While their many commonalities and common circle of friends are what originally brought these two artists together, the debut S T F U album came to life in two separate studios. London is now home for Dean Garcia, while Preston Maddox is based in Austin, Texas.
“There is an advantage to being able to do what you want on your own musically. It puts you in the position to always work with someone because you want to, not because you have to, and I'm very fortunate to have that,” explains Preston Maddox. “Making cool music is the most important thing, and when you are working with the right people its the easiest thing to do too.”
‘What We Want’ is being made available via the S T F U Bandcamp. It also features a free hidden gem, called 'Paralyzed', which was recorded around the same time as the other songs on this album and features separately on the M A D album 'Slow Mo' with Steve Monti (Curve, Jesus & Mary Chain). Find it at http://mad-hq.bandcamp.com.
Cinematic in atmosphere and brimming with carnivalesque creativity, Circus is the brand new exciting EP from experimental pop artist Daisy and The Dark (aka Sarah Kayte Foster).
'Somewhere between the ghostly gliding & luscious laments of Kate Bush, the boldness of Björk and the haunting images of Kylie Minogue floating in a lake, comes Sarah Kayte Foster.' – Backseat Mafia
‘Resplendent, bold and ambitious. It’s her daringness to experiment - and those ethereal, oscillating vocals – that sets Daisy and The Dark apart’ – Chart Shaker
Previously a member of classical chart-topping band the Mediaeval Baebes for five years, Sarah left the band in 2014, after charting at No. 8 in the UK Classical Charts with the double album ‘Of Kings and Angels’.
She has since poured her musical talent into a solo career as Daisy, performing theatrical shows at Secret Garden Party and the Royal Albert Hall, and releasing her 2015 debut EP ‘Red Planet’ as a new interactive app which IBM called ‘the best collaboration between music and technology I’ve seen in a long time.’ The record went on to receive a whole host of online coverage, garnering praise from the likes of SupaJam, Chart Shaker and Noizze.
Her new EP ‘Circus’ is set for release July 8th.
Stream lead single ‘Circus’ here:
A vibrant video directed by BAFTA award winning Shreepali Patel accompanies lead single and title track ‘Circus’, with cinematography coming courtesy of award-winner Nicola Daley - making it one of the few music videos to have an all female team at the helm.
Sarah’s creative energy extends beyond music and she has worked extensively as a professional actress, as well as creating artwork, videos, costume and performance art all inspired, like her songs, by her great love of cinema and magic.
Her ethereal and other-worldly style is sure to appeal to fans of artists like Kate Bush, Bjork, FKA Twigs, Bat for Lashes and David Bowie.
LEARN NEW SKILLS WITH OVER 80 ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES BY DAY AND AN UNANNOUNCED ECLECTIC MUSIC LINE-UP BY NIGHT
The sound of mallets on tent pegs is echoing around the woods, the tannoys are crackling as the radio station goes live on air and adventurers from across the country are descending on Kent for the second edition of Wildfire Adventure Camp.
Being the UK’s only truly unique festival (Questival), as of Friday 17th June the idyllic forest setting in Sevenoaks, Kent will be inhabited by intrepid festival-goers who embrace the ethos of ‘Only The Curious’.
Daytime sees Adventurers embracing new skills - some traditional, some modern – and earning their hedonistic evening party pursuits. From sword fighting, to high wire ropes, to naked knitting Wildfire packs more new experiences into a weekend than most people will try in a lifetime.
As night falls and the forest parties begin, Wildfire comes to life with a secret musical lineup curated by the team behind LeeFest. For those who’ve earned it there’s the equally secret Officers Mess Party where camp leaders invite an exclusive group of campers to indulge in an evening like no other. Secret sets, lashings of moonshine and badges of honour make this the place to be. Will you do enough to be one of the chosen few?
Maybe you’re looking for love? Jump into Cupid’s Singles Club, where like-minded campers meet at Wildfire. There are plenty of specially curated chances for love to blossom over the course of the weekend.
Wildfire Adventure Camp is packed full of alternative experiences, with activities, adventure and opportunities to pique the curiosity in all of us. Nipple Tassel Making, Go Go Dancing, Naked Knitting, Extreme Water Slides, Whip Cracking, Catapult Wars, Bee Keeping, Escape Cabins, High Wire Ropes, Wood-Fired Hot Tubs and the Leap Of Faith are all newly announced activities that will inspire, educate and provide some of the most memorable festival moments of the summer.
Wildfire offers over 80 activities, all included within the full weekend ticket price including:
Knots // Primitive Fire Lighting // Bivouac Building // Trap Setting // Survival Techniques // Wild Game Preparation And Cookery
Health & Wellbeing
Massage // Sauna Building // Hot Tubs // Naked Tea Tent // Mindfulness // Yoga
Cycling // Raft Building // Archery // Knife Throwing // Circus Skills // Climbing // Sword-Fighting // Yoga // Rifle & Pistol shooting // Stand Up Paddle Boarding // Tug Of War // Slipslide // Crazy Golf // Crossbows // Whip Cracking // Axe Throwing // Self Defence
Science & Engineering
Astronomy // Rocket Building // First Aid // Catapults // Photography // Radio
Screen Printing // Life Drawing // Watercolouring // Acrylic Painting // Knitting // Paper Craft // Mask Making // Jewellery Smithing // Bow Making // Photography // Macrame // Wood Whittling
Watch the trailer below:
As Wildfire Adventure Camp draws nearer and nearer, only 50 tickets remain for the true alternative weekend of the summer.
With standard weekend tickets completely sold out, a limited number of spaces remain for the class of 2016, making Wildfire one of the most in-demand weekends of the summer. Final “Snail Pace” tickets are available now, so don’t miss out on a “Questival” experience like no other.
‘2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal’ is the title of the latest piece from Spanish-born British composer Toni Castells
Which will have its world premiere at St. James’s Piccadilly, London, on the 6th of July 2016 at 7.30pm.
The piece features the composer’s trademark blend of classical ensembles, operatic voices and electronica/sound art, described as Massive Attack meets Mendelsohn by Ben Roberts from industry magazine London Tourdates and Morricone meets Satie by Michael Haas, who produced prize-winning recordings with major classical artists including Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Cecilia Bartoli and Luciano Pavarotti.
‘2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal’ takes its name from the eponymous Time Magazine article by Lev Grossman (Grossman 2011). The article explores Google’s chief engineer Ray Kurzweil’s view on technological singularity, a point in time set in 2045 by the scientific community in which humans and machines will finally merge, converting us in basically machines, allowing us to stop ageing and live indefinitely. Through this paradigm of the future I explore my own views on mortality, death and the possibility of afterlife.
In 2013 I started writing the piece. I decided to focus my new research and work on the topic of ‘death’ as, as I grew older and having experienced poor health during my 30s, I became more and more aware of my own mortality and, I have to admit, I grew increasingly more terrified of the idea of dying. Discovering Singularity and Kurzweil’s paradigm of the future seemed the answer to all my worries, I just had to make it until 2045 and let technology overcome the problem. The piece at first became a celebration of singularity, of technology overcoming man’s biggest fear and finally liberating us from death, but the more I researched the topic, going deeper and deeper into the subject and reflecting all that research into the new music I was creating, my perspective on ‘death’ changed dramatically.
I started analysing reports of near-death experiences that have been documented in various studies around the world. In 1982, a Gallup survey indicated that approximately 8 million adults in the United States alone had had a near-death experience, most of them actually shared the same experiences and characteristics. The findings from this research alone were transformative, together with the different ways in which humanity during history has dealt with death in different cultures and traditions. When you look at the hard data and take a wider perspective, it’s strange to see that, as a society, we’ve adopted such distorted perspective of death, one that creates in us unnecessary fear and suffering in individuals.
It became clear to me that there is beauty in the idea of dying, that we cannot separate life from death and that it is the imminence of death that gives beauty and purpose to our lives. When every moment can be our last, things become more beautiful and more intense. The song and closes the piece, Passing on the Torch, based on the words of philosopher Alan Watts, sums it up quite well:
“So therefore in the course of nature once we have ceased to see magic in the world anymore, we are no longer fulfilling nature’s game of being aware of itself. There's no point in it anymore, and so we die, and so something else comes to birth which gets an entirely new view. It is therefore not natural for us to wish to prolong life indefinitely. But we live in a culture where it has been rubbed into us, in every conceivable way, that to die is a terrible thing. And that is a tremendous disease from which our culture in particular suffers.”
So ‘2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal’ reflects this personal journey of mine. I think that this transformation that happened inside of myself cannot be done alone at a rational level, at some point I had to feel it. Thus those feelings are into the music and I hope that the audience can feel through it my experience and have the chance to reflect on this issue themselves. I have lost all fear of dying, whenever my time is, I will be ready, “with clean hands and straight eyes”, quoting a Native American prayer from Chief Yellow Hawk that has also made into the piece.
Some interesting details of the piece: it is structured in 5 sections mirroring the five stages of a fruit tree, a metaphor of the cyclic nature of time and life. The first three sections (block 1) represent the process from life to death, the last two (block 2) open to door to immortality taking the cycle back to life again. All the individual segments that constitute the blocks follow the timings of the Fibonacci Sequence (1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 45 55), imitating the way nature creates its structures using Fibonacci based sequences. The piece is exactly 55min long, with the two main blocks separated at the Golden Ratio at 34min.
A sample of the new piece, the composition ‘Slaves of Time’ sang by Volksoper lead soprano Rebecca Nelsen can be heard here:
Meeta Raval - Soprano
Oliver Gerrish - Countertenor
Helios Voices Choir
Mark Sproson - Choir Musical Director
Aquinas Piano Trio - Martin Cousin Piano, Katherine Jenkinson Cello, Ruth Rogers Violin
Olivia Duque Cor Anglais
Martin Stephens - Electric Bass
Mike de Groot - Electronics
Toni Castells - Keyboards and Percussion
British soprano Meeta Raval made her Royal Opera debut in 2015. Raval studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. She was a finalist in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2011, and is the winner of the Dame Eva Turner Prize for ‘Soprano with Dramatic Potential’.
"Geniality and impeccable craftsmanship go hand in hand when it comes to Saint-Saëns's piano trios. This is music to enjoy, as the Aquinas Piano Trio clearly do in playing it...the Aquinas Trio are spot-on in interpretative instinct." Gramophone Review
Toni Castells (born 3 January 1976) is a Spanish-born British composer based currently in London. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer and academic, electro-acoustic polymath Toni Castells defies definition. His sonic worlds transpire an inherited precocious classical training with an inventive use of modern technologies to create unique and distinctive soundscapes that have been compared to Morricone and Satie. Over the years Castells has become best known for his genre defying solo albums which sit on the fringes of the the ever burgeoning ‘neo-classical’ movement. His spiritually-charged live performances have been hailed as ‘life-changing’.
The band hail from the beautiful city of Bergen, where they have grown from a small local group to an internationally recognised act. Their Facebook page currently has over 151, 000 likes.
Having toured all over the world, KMF regularly play to 5000 fans at their own club shows across the continent and have appeared at and headlined stages at renowned festivals such as Melt! Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, Arenal Sound in Spain and Hurricane Festival. With support constantly coming their way, they seem destined to continue onwards and upwards and are not likely to stop until their out the stratosphere.
The group proclaim themselves to be ‘sauna extremists’, having gone so far as to perform naked in a sauna once on Norwegian national news!
Amongst sauna-extremism, the band’s other hobbies include football, gaming and Djing (two of the members Axel and Pål run a popular club concept ‘Klubben’ and a hip hop night in Bergen – proof of a band with eclectic musical tastes).
On May 31st the band performed an exclusive UK show at the prestige O2 Academy Islington.
‘Young You’ is out May 13th and is set to appear on the group’s upcoming self-titled album KMF set for release today (June 3rd).
Priory Park Festival are delighted to announce the latest addition to their July 8-10 festival bill…the one and only PP Arnold.
PP is, quite simply, a pop music icon. She was one of the pioneers of black music in the UK and she’s worked with some of the biggest names in the business, even from the very start of her career in 1964 when she joined Ike and Tina Turner as part of their review.
Since her time as an Ikette she’s been championed by luminaries such as Mick Jagger and sung with Roger Waters, Dr John, the Small Faces, The Nice and Chris Farlowe amongst many many others. She can be heard on albums by the Small Faces, Peter Gabriel, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Nils Lofgren, Dr Robert, Nina Hagen… the list goes on. Her biography reads like a who’s who of music.
As impressive as her work with other artists is, however, she’s best loved for, and forever associated with, her classic versions of Angel of the Morning and The First Cut is the Deepest, two singles that still get plenty of airplay today.
Amazingly PP Arnold’s appearance at Chichester is one of the few festivals she’s actually performed at as a solo artist… “I haven’t played a lot of festivals in my own right, probably since the 1960s, so it’s going to be wonderful” she said.
“I was touring with Roger Waters from 1999 to 2008 and we did a lot of those kind of concerts including Glastonbury. But since then I’ve been regenerating my own solo career and following my own path. Of course I’ll definitely be doing Angel and The First Cut is the Deepest at Chichester – they are still very poignant to me.”
PP Arnold joins a host of other artists performing on the Saturday at the eclectic weekend. Acts appearing across the three days include Sophie Ellis Bextor, the Feeling, The Manfreds, Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, and Zoe Rahman with Courtney Pine. The second stage at Chichester features poetry, literature and music with guest talks from Dame Esther Rantzen, producer Glyn Johns, broadcaster Simon Fanshawe and authors Tom Fort and Glynn Povey.
Tickets for Priory Park Festival are on sale now from www.chichesterlive.co.uk
or in person from the Festival Box Office Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO18 1PX (open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm). 01243 813595 from mid April.
NB The Early Bird Special ends at midnight on June 7th.
(Early Bird Special Price, Tier One, Limited Period: Adult £79, young person, 11-18 years, £40.00)
More artists have been confirmed for Flow Festival Helsinki!
Leading the announcement is no other than the hypnotic British singer FKA Twigs, who rose to popularity in 2012 on the strength of her blinding debut EP1 and its hit track Breathe. Known for her excellent choreography as well as musicality, FKA Twigs explores the nuances of pop aesthetics in a way that holds both critics and audiences spellbound.
Also announced to play Flow Festival Helsinki is the young electronic producer Mura Masa, who is currently re-defining the electro-landscape with cutting-edge mixtapes and singer-songwriter Laura Mvula is set to bring her adventurous jazz-tinged pop music to the Finnish city. Canadian singer-songwriter Spencer’s Moonface project will be appearing with Siinai, the Finnish band specialising in anthemic instrumental rock fresh from the release of their second collaborative album coming 3rd June.
Ricky-Tick Big Band & Julkinen Sana, the genre-busting, 20-piece rhythm machine brings its unique mix of jazz and hip-hop to Flow Festival, putting on a show featuring circus troupe Agit-Cirk. The electronic music explosion in the Voimala venue becomes super-stellar with the addition of four new Finnish names added to the star-studded line up. The first of which, is Mirage Man who spices up house and techno influenced sets with far-flung genres; TWWTH, a project by Matti Pentikäinen of Ceebrolistics infuses dark electronic soundscapes with swirls of trap; Samuli Kemppi is easily one of the most important techno producers in the history of the Helsinki scene. And finally, Ripatti, whose one-time, one-of-a-kind gig is set to challenge the assembled multitude.
Already confirmed for Flow Festival Helsinki include Sia, New Order, Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, Anohni, The Last Shadow Puppets, Jamie xx, M83, Chvrches, Descendents, Four Tet and Hercules & Love Affair.
Tickets for Flow Festival have been selling at a record pace. Three-day tickets are 175€ until the end of June. From July 1, the price is 182€ if tickets are still available.
SIGALA, KIKO BUN, CROOKERS, CULTURE SHOCK, BECKY HILL AND STOOSHE JOIN THE SUMMER FESTIVAL SEASON’S BIGGEST CLOSING PARTY
Taking from all corners of pop, urban and dance music, Sundown Festival returns in 2016 with its biggest lineup yet. With huge names already announced including headliners Chase & Status and Jason Derulo, pop superstars Jess Glynne and Fleur East and grime godfathers Dizzee Rascal and Kano, even more names are joining the party!
Since toppling Bieber off of the top spot in the Official UK Top 40 Singles Chart with his smash hit ‘Easy Love’, Norwich’s own Sigala has become one of the country’s most in demand DJs and producers. His current single, the Nile Rogers and John Newman collaboration ‘Give Me Your Love’, is a summery slice of tropical house and his set on the main stage is not to be missed. Also joining the main stage lineup are purveyor of sun-soaked, infectious reggae Kiko Bun, BRIT nominees Stooshe and chart-topping pop starlet Becky Hill.
With Sundown teaming up with Defected, Ministry Of Sound, UKF and Drum & Bass Arena this year to bring two dance-dedicated tents to the festival full of some of the biggest names in house, dnb, garage and more, those looking to party the weekend away need look no further. Joining the Defected In The House stage is Italian house master Crookers and over in the Drum & Bass Arena, Ram Records’ Culture Shock joins the already stacked lineup.
Expanding in 2016 to three stages for the first time, Sundown Festival is the essential closing party of the summer festival season for revelers looking for one last dance in the sun.
Following on from the rousing success of their 2012 record “Death Valley Duchess”, Nottingham stoner rock crew Widows are soon to head into Skyhammer Studios in Cheshire to record their new album “Oh, Deer God”, which is set for release in November 2016. Their first record with new bassist, Phil Emblin.
Guitarist James Kidd had this to say about the upcoming new release:
“It's been a long time since our last release so we're super excited to be back in the studio and we are definitely bringing the riffs!.
With Phil joining us on bass, we’re finally writing as a whole band again. His influence has inevitably crept into the writing process and helped us evolve to come up with something darker and more aggressive than the last album. The new stuff is definitely more stripped back, and heavier than our previous offerings. Given the sound we’re going for with the 7 tracks on “Oh Deer God”, Skyhammer was the obvious choice.
Chris is a great engineer and Adam (vocals) and I had wanted to work with him for a long time before Skyhammer and Widows even existed. He’s been at the helm of a bunch of excellent albums over the last few years so we know he’ll steer us right. Don’t worry though, that Widows groove is still firmly front and centre!”
Formed in 2008, Widows play music you can raise a beer and swing a fist to,
and they do it hard, fast and loud. With bone crushing grooves and an undeniable swagger!
Influenced by the likes of Down, Kyuss, and Clutch, Widows released their debut EP, “Raise the Monolith”, in 2010. The subsequent shows bolstered their reputation as an impressive live band as they chewed up venues and damaged people’s hearing across the UK.
Their next album, Death Valley Duchess”, was recorded after a desert rock pilgrimage by members James and vocalist Adam to the Californian desert in a bid to inspire both the music and album artwork. It was released worldwide in 2012 followed by several tours across the UK, Europe and Scandinavia, and supported with playlisting on Kerrang! Radio and Propeller TV’s Metal Tuune and Tuune Rocks shows. All this next to a string of killer shows with Tombstones, Orange Goblin, and Valient Thorr and festivals including Desert Fest 2012 (London), Waterfront Festival 2010/14 (Nottingham), Hockley Hustle 2014 (Nottingham), Riff Fest 2014 (Bolton) Macmillan Fest 2015 (Nottingham) and Mammothfest 2015 (Brighton).
New York Indie Rockers Newborn are ready to shake up things for rock and roll, their new track Beautiful Disguise, and are set to release their new EP this Summer.
The band take influence from Muse, Nirvana, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Arctic Monkeys, who set a high bar for the band.
The upcoming EP, self-titled Newborn, was mastered by Joe Laporta, who has worked with artists as esteemed as David Bowie, Foo Fighters, The Weeknd, The Killers and Imagine Dragons, set to be released June 14th the EP combines indie rock tracks with old school rock and roll. This band are definitley one to watch.
'Beautiful Disguise' is the latest release from the band, follows up on previous single turn around, who's video you can see here.
The track centres around people's fascination with beauty, ' There's a big old empty space/ and a smile that cracks your face'.
As well as album, single and gig reviews we now have sections devoted to looking at the latest tech including mobile phones, audio and TV for the home and even cars. In short anything you can listen to music on or in. Or just stuff our crack team of writers things is interesting.
Please feel free to send us any comments or your own reviews and recommendations.