We have been informed that WOWFest 2012 has now been cancelled. Many of the bands involved may be found playing at alternative venues and festivals this year in and around the UK.
808 State are a British electronic music outfit, formed in 1987 in Manchester, taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their common state of mind.
Please see the great interview below, answered by Graham Massey from the band.
The family record player. We actually did have a wind up 78 that my Dad would drop Gracie Fields records on. Then we upgraded to a Dancette 3 speed. My Brothers and I took turns getting a 7 inch each week. Beatle mania ensued, The Shadows instrumentals, popular classical on 7 inch EPs. One of my first 7 inches was a freebie with Action Man. I used to like the sound fx side, just war noises That might be telling?
The Radio was always on around meal times. I remember it was a mix of Brit groups and older stuff like Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
Not wildly. We had a piano. My brother had lessons and had sheet music to Rolling Stones and Kinks records. I used to do a version of Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001 fanfare) with my fists. I could also do it on mouth organ, there was no applause or accolades.
Next door had an arch top guitar, I had a banjo uke’ and there was some occasional Skiffle in a shed. I remember having a go on a relatives electric organ, that may have been formative in that “reverb” seemed to be the missing link to the space age, which coloured everything for me back in the 60s, terribly exciting futures awaited us on other worlds, all sound-tracked with electronic tones.
One of the first inroads into music was through getting a cassette recorder at the age of 12. It was the must have item for boys in 72. You used to record chart run downs off your radio or Top Of The Pops off the TV by shoving a microphone in front of said devices. Recordings of TV Adverts and theme tunes, you could do fake Michael Parkinson interviews with your mates and then any musical activity you could dream up with what ever you had… Stylophones, electronic project kits. Woolworth’s reed organs seemed to be universal.
There were books in the library that talked of the afore mentioned electronic space tones “Experimental Music” with interesting pictures of La Monte Young, Terry Riley ,Cage etc. There was a notion of “avant garde” that appealed and became supported when I got into Virgin records budget vinyl like Faust Tapes and Gongs “Camembert Electrique”, and Hawkwind etc in the mid 70s.
Punk was a game changer for me, or rather Post Punk, because you could take electronic and experimental influences from Prog & Spacerock and marry that to mad energy. It was also a form of music that addressed clubs and dance floor culture, disco and technology.
When we formed 808 State it wasn’t just about a love of abstract US dance music, it was as much about an exploration of emerging music technology. Samplers were a key revolutionary instrument. The technology was the common syntax but the accent was a blend of experiences that you tend to get in a place like Manchester. The UK urban thing is a different packet of seeds to the US or European counterpart. It’s why you can still mix an early 90’s “Shut Up And Dance” record with Dubstep. The relay race isn’t over yet. The UK sound is easy to spot in the global mush of your modern dance floor. There’s no software for style but I think most people can’t help but respond when they hear it.
Yes, 808 State played Bestival in 2008 and I also played Bestival with The Sisters Of Transistors in 2010. We got lost trying to find the Festival site… some locals had taken all the signs down or pointed them in the wrong directions.
We are currently a five piece live band. Darren does MCing with decks and percussion, Andrew and I do the synths and we run a MacBook Pro using Logic to a fireface sound card with multiple outs. We use a bunch of old analogue keyboards like Moogs and Rolands. I also do guitars and sax. We have Paddy Steer on Bass Guitar, he’s a very interesting and great musician whom I’ve collaborated with on many projects. We also have Carl Sharrocks on Drums; I spotted him playing with a tech group called Sirconical a few years back. He can lock on like an Exocet and it turns out he grew up listening to our stuff and knows it like the back of his hand.
It has just grown with the technology of the times. I guess we’ve been having a relationship with technology long enough to realize that “new” isn’t always better, which is why we still use a lot of analogue synths and an element of live instruments along side the computers.
Computers are way more powerful & reliable for stage use now. When I look back they were such a struggle throughout the 90’s, crashing and sticking, never being able to trust the timing, it could send you demented. We are an odd combination of DJ crew and band that grew organically from having to present a studio product live and keep it exciting on stage. It can get messy, we are a sweaty techno band, not really in the Kraftwerk mould.
I think we were lucky to ride the big wave of Rave when it first happened in late 80’s. It was a very exciting time in music as a whole, and we were allowed to freely be creative with a positive back up in that it was all valid. We had a audience that wasn’t niche, it was Pop and Edge at the same time. High points are always about moment of creation, you might not always have people ready to listen. It was great when that process was immediate.
We made all kinds of daft decisions, but what do you want Snow Patrol?
We are all still active in areas of music, a lot of archiving going on in recent years as you have to over see that your music is digitally converted properly – that’s a big job with a back catalogue like ours.
Our website 808state.com will keep you up to date on current projects. Andy & Darren go out and DJ a lot as 808 State Sound System, they also do a new web radio show on Beatwolf.com which is far from your usual dry dance radio fayre. They’ve always had a natural flair for radio. I’m quite often on Freakier Zone on BBC6 Music… It’s a program about “outsider music” or trainspotter “up it” music depending on your stance.
I think everybody has their own music scene, it’s not centralized through the media anymore. Internet hype, out of touch print and other media has diminished trust, word of mouth and faith in music as an uplifting force and will always prevail.
Keeping ears expectant is the current dilemma. You need all your basic music food groups: quiet reflective music, body punching loud abandon, mystery, history, community, appreciation of dynamic sound. Few places have a decent sound these days. We should give ratings to a venue for sound quality, or simply gather as groups around quality sound systems to recalibrate what it means. Your brain shuts off to music if you don’t tickle it the right way.
You can expect to put your hands in the air. You will be shouted at with considerable amplification. You will suffer abdominal sub bass cramps that will be followed by involuntary euphoria.
This summer’s explosive new music festival WOWfest (17th – 19th August, Isle of Wight), along with 13 other top UK festivals hosts the 2012 winner of the UK’s largest battle of the bands music competition, Live and Unsigned.
Live and Unsigned auditions started in January leading up to the National Finals at the UK’s Largest indoor music festival, Live Fest (14th July, 02 Arena). The competition will be judged by a panel of music industry gurus from National Radio 1, Kerrang, BBC Introducing, Regional Press & record labels including Radio 1’s Annie Knightingale MBE, Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker, former Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim and many more to be announced!
The overall winner of Live and Unsigned 2012 will receive the exclusive opportunity to play WOWfest’s main stage on Friday 17th August. Sharing the main stage over the weekend are the likes of Norman Jay MBE, The Selecter and Aswad, with more still to be announced. In addition the winner of Live and Unsigned’s acoustic music sub category will play WOWfest’s new and local talent stage, Shaved Fish.
Only in its first year, WOWfest’s features an electric mix of House, Reggae, Ska, Jazz, World, Disco, Dance, Dubstep and Drum and Bass music including House legends Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling, Reggae stars UB40, Junior Marvin of Bob Marley’s Wailers and Maxi Priest as well as Ska originals The Selecter and The Beat to name a few. On top of a spectacular line up the festival features Ubuntu, WOWfest’s African Village, as well as a vintage fun fair, workshops, there are theatre performances and after hours comedy club and swirling burlesque.
The Live and Unsigned 2012 winner will also play Relentless Energy Drink Boardmasters, Sundown, Strawberry Fields Festival, Cloud 9 Festival, Glass Butter Beach, Bingley Music Live, Cockermouth Rock Festival, Brownstock, WOWFest, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Just So Festival, Stockton Weekender, London Summer Jam and Lancaster Music Festival as well as receive a cash prize of £10,000.
To enter Live and Unsigned visit: www.liveandunsigned.uk.com/enter-now
Live and Unsigned Grand Final 14th July 2012 , The O2 London
WOWfest 17th – 19th August. 2012, Isle of Wight
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After 20 years of mixing African and Celtic music in equal measures Baka Beyond have become one of the finest danceable bands around, creating the sound of the African global village.
Not just a touring band, Baka Beyond have a unique relationship with their inspiration – the Baka Pygmies of Cameroon – sending royalties to help their development projects, and even touring with Baka musicians.
Baka Beyond was founded in 1992 after British musicians Martin Cradick and Su Hart had visited the Baka Pygmies of the Cameroon rainforests after seeing a TV documentary. So inspired were they by their magical rhythms and melodies that they recorded an album “Spirit of the Forest” under the name Baka Beyond which pushed them into worldwide recognition.
In order to make sure that the Baka get their fair return for their compositions they also founded the charity, “Global Music Exchange”. So started this very positive African – European collaboration.
Since these early beginnings when the term “world music” barely existed, Baka Beyond has evolved into a multicultural, dynamic live stage show and album sales top a quarter of a million copies. Band members hail from Brittany, Cameroon, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Congo and Ghana as well as Britain. Each musician brings their own influence and talent to the music creating a unique spectacle and honoring a lesson learned from the Baka people, “everyone is to be listened to”.
Baka Beyond’s years of touring have paid off. The energy of their thoroughly uplifting and seamless blend of African rhythm and Celtic melody defies anybody to sit still. They recently headlined Edmonton Folk Festival and wowed the 15,000 strong crowd, most of whom were new to the magic of Baka Beyond.
The band digitally released their new album ‘Kisumani’ in Spring 2012 and there will be a ‘physical’ release in the Summer.
For selected shows the band will be joined on vocals by Molara, Fela Kuti’s niece and the original voice of dub dance pioneers, Zion Train. Ghanaian percussionist, Nii Tagoe provides the rhythm section along with Tim Robinson and Congolese bass player Kibisingo Douglas (of Kanda Bongo Man). All of this is very much tied together by the energy of Paddy le Mercier ‘s Bretagne fiddle and Martin Cradick’s hypnotic guitar, recently described as sounding like ‘Jerry Garcia after a long trip in West Africa’.
Although I had piano lessons at the age of 8 or 9, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about music until hearing someone play guitar and sing a song around a campfire when I was on holiday aged 12. I got a cheap classical guitar and started teaching myself for a year until I had classical guitar lessons at school. After Grade 5 (at age around 15) the pieces got more intellectual and boring to my ears and I gave up formal lessons and started playing electric guitar in bands.
The only music played at home was Christmas Carols at christmas time. Apart from that my Mum would constantly hum “busy bee” tunes while doing the housework. I don’t think she was ware of it and it is probably responsible for my affinity to improvised tunes that doodle on and on without going anywhere – “as directionless as a runaway shopping trolly” as one reviewer once said! I found that there were quite a lot of people who actually liked that sort of music!
My grandmother’s sister (who I never met, was a concert pianist in Australia, and the first woman to write a piece of music for a brass band apparently, and her mother was trained as a concert pianist but damaged her hand before she could take it up as a career. So I suppose there is some musical ability in my genes.
When I first started playing guitar my elder sister was going out with someone in a progressive rock band so I heard the records she had – Genesis, Yes, Camel etc. The first album I bought was Aladdin Sane ny David Bowie, but it was the music of Can that actually influenced me most at that time – the philosophy that great music comes by accident from improvisation.
After that it was mostly live music that influenced me. I saw (and jammed with) a reggae band at Stonehenge Free Festival (probably about 1979/1980) and I realised that if you mixed improvisation with music that people danced to it made it more accessible.
I was busking in Paris on my 21st birthday and heard Fela Cuti. The first time I had heard African music and it had an immediate resonance with me.
Travelling to South America in 1988, and hearing the bands at the Baranquilla Carnival in Columbia was influential. None of them had a drum kit, but they all had all the parts of the drum kit played by different people creating a totally different feel.
At the time I was co-running a music club in Oxford (The Madhatter’s Club). It had recently been closed down due to neighbour’s complaints, and being the last music venue in town (the council having already closed all the others down) we kicked up a huge fuss and eventually were allowed to stay open and even get support from the council. People who know the Oxford music scene now wouldn’t recognise that kind of attitude from the council who now can’t do enough to help live music. We had to really fight to set the ground for that.
The biggest influence has of course been Su’s and my visit to the Baka in 1992. (I’ve been going ever since – every year at least once now since 2000, and a few times before then). That is the influence that gives the sound to our current band. Not necessarily totally in the sound we produce, but in the spirit of the music. All grooving together to create a positive vibe.
African based rhythms underlying a mixture of Celtic, African and improvised melodies. Dance/Trance music with a positive vibe and many influences from traditional music in Africa and Celtic fringes of Europe.
It shifts and changes quite organically, depending to a certain extent on which musicians are playing as we try to make a space for each person’s style. The albums have mainly been studio based and end up being quite a different entity to the live show. This year we are going back to a more “traditional Baka Beyond sound” with pretty much the lineup of 2000 – Eleanor has joined us this summer again on vocals after a gap of 12 years.
Probably playing to 20,000 people on a saturday night on the main stage at Edmonton Festival in Canada (view on youtube Here) Also bringing 7 Baka musicians over from Cameroon to tour with us in 2012.
Spending most of last year recording a new album and then having to shelve it due to the band members all falling out. Partly due to me trying to learn not to be a control freak and failing dismally. We live and learn and as Jimmy Cliff says, “you’ve gotta walk and don’t look back”
Back to “traditional Baka Beyond”. Drums, African percussion, positive vibes and highly danceable rhythms (but you can just lie back and let it all take you away, if that’s what you prefer).
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Africa recently and to be honest am not that in touch with what’s current as far as radio etc is concerned. I’ve always been far more interested in live music, and that seems really exciting at the moment. What I find really striking is that so many young bands seem to be playing music very similar to the music bands I was in in the early ’80s were playing, although at the time most bands we knew then thought we were crazy and hopelessly out of touch!
I’ve just finished mixing and mastering an album I recorded in Cameroon in February. Its a follow up to Baka Gbiné’s album “Gati Bongo” (tThe title track of which has just been selected to be on a new Zumba Dance video game!). The Baka musicians have formed a really tight rhythm section and the music sounds great. I would like to help them tour in the Cameroon next year and then come to Europe in 2014.
Energetic infectious rhythms, beautiful harmonies, dancing feet and happy faces all around you.
The Shaved Fish stage at WOWfest this August will be showcasing the new and exciting music on offer from the Isle of Wight and the rest of the England, with local bands and others travelling from places such as Southampton, London and Derby. There is an intentionally eclectic mix of music on offer from the curators of Shaved Fish, which is a result of their high drive to create a unique experience with a real WOW factor that differs from night to night…
On Friday expect to hear an acoustic orientated night with hints of folk and country. Saturday steps up to an Indie rock night with a very exciting new band at the top of the bill, and on Sunday to finish the weekend there is a full on Psychedelia night. It’s a great place to discover something new and enjoy the already excellent WOWfest vibe – created by headline acts such as UB40, Heaven 17 and Madeleine Peyroux, and top DJs including Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Bez from The Happy Mondays.
The team behind Shaved Fish are three island musician amigos Charlie Harris, James Thorpe and Shaun Barker. The trio have used their time and resources wisely to book some excellent music.
Charlie is a current university student, studying Music Management and Studio production, alongside juggling a few musical projects and producing artists and bands. Born and raised on the Isle of Wight he entered the music scene at the age of 13, playing in bands and attending local gigs, soaking up what the island has to offer. With a good knowledge of new and fresh music, along with a love for music from previous decades, it is his goal to create an exciting line-up for the Shaved Fish Stage.
James is a self confessed music snob, with a primitive vintage studio set up in the top floor of his Ventnor house and co-running a label under the name Red Squirrel with Shaun and Charlie, he is certainly a man to know if you’re in the island scene. James, along with the other two, entered music through playing in a band and live performance, but has followed his interests and ended up in the field of production and recording. His connection to the network of Isle of Wight musicians has proved valuable in the booking of some great music from the island.
Shaun and James come as a pair – it’s rare you’ll find them creating music more than 10 feet from each other. As teenagers playing in band together for 8 years and attending the same schools, their interests are naturally fairly mutual. Shaun’s involvement in music is, like the others, in production and engineering music and co-running the studio with James, his input into the music made is vital to the Red Squirrel sound.
For these three island lads, this is great personal development in their chosen industry. Not only have they had full control over the musical programming of the Shaved Fish, they also have to organise the whole show. They are doing this with the guidance of the older members of the team but they have met the job full on with energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment. Instead of running competitions like many other festivals, they did email auditions with MP3s and made a selection from thousands of applicants off the island and on the island. The line up is their choice of high quality emerging and current sounds from psychedelia, Indie, jazz to shoegazing and we are pleased to see they chose The Shutes, Pale Seas, JC & Angelina, Raff, Faber, Wos, Kris and Kaf alongside Hugh Verey (founder of Wight Salads now retired).
The Shutes: are a widely anticipated 4 piece Alternative Indie Surf band from the Isle of Wight, whose catchy riffs get mass audiences going in their home turf. Recently touring in Europe, The Shutes have released their new EP “Echo of Love” which will be part of their set on the Shaved Fish Stage at WOWfest 2012. The Shutes feature Rob Potter on bass, Chris Jones on drums, Michael Champion on vocals/guitar and David Champion on guitar.
Pale Seas: from Southampton, is a young band tinged with Americana folk jarred with English self-deprication and an intimate nocturnal sound to melt any heart.
Island born brother and sister, JC & Angelina, are well known on the island circuit and to festivals and clubs far afield. Their recordings are original material.
Experience the unique sounds of the Shaved Fish at WOWfest, which runs from 17th – 19th August. 2012. Tickets are available, still promotionally priced at £99 for adult weekenders, from www.wowfest.co.uk.
WOWfest is proud to partner the following charities: Oxfam, Solar Aid, Building Schools for Africa, Sustrans, Vegfam and the IW NHS Juba project.
WOWfest Global Party is under St Martin’s Down, off the A3020 Shanklin Road (between Canteen Road and Apse Manor Road) on the Isle of Wight. Nearby are Shanklin (walking distance), Ventnor (reasonable walking distance), Godshill. From the top of the festival fields you have magnificent views across the rural landscape of the Isle of Wight to the white cliffs of Sandown Bay and across to the Spinaker Tower in Portsmouth on the mainland.
Car Parks open for anyone arriving earlier than expected – 10am Thursday 16th August
Campers gates open – from Thursday 16th August 2012 at Midday.
Non-campers gates open – from Friday 17th August 2012 at 9am.
Departure time – Monday 21st August 2012 by 2pm at the latest.
Markets open from Thursday 16th August 2012.
Late refreshments available.
Bars open 10am – 2am
Live Music until Midnight
Cabaret, Burlesque, Acoustic, Comedy until 2am
WOW Club Nights until 2.30am (2am on Sunday)
Adult Weekender – introductory early birds ONLY £99
Islander Adult Weekender – £120
Adult Weekender – Full Price £140
Student Weekender – 13 to 17 yr olds £95
Student Weekender – 13-17 yr olds introductory early bird £85
Young Weekender – 12 yrs & under (limited numbers) FREE
Adult Camping Pass £20
Student Camping Pass (accompanied 13-17 yr olds) FREE
Young Camping Pass (accompanied 12s & under) FREE
Car Parking Weekend Permit £30
Car Parking Day Permit £15
Day tickets – (limited numbers) £75
Day tickets – 12 yrs & under (limited numbers) FREE
WOWFest@Eyeplug.net, Breeze FM, Jack FM, Carlsberg UK (Tuborg brand), Kawai Pianos, Southern Vectis Buses, Hovertravel, Best Parties Ever, The Music Shop IOW, Sustrans, with others to be announced. Also working in support of the Eco-Island Partnership and:
SolarAid (charity number 1115960)
Building Schools for Africa (charity number 1127661)
IW NHS Juba hospital project (charity number 1123754)
Vegfam (Charity number 232208)
WOWfest is thrilled to announce the UK exclusive appearance of Madeleine Peyroux, on her much awaited return European tour, in August. Headlining the Blue Angel stage on Sunday night this American bohemian, once discovered busking on the streets of Paris, has a voice likened to the late great Billy Holiday. With self penned soul searching lyrics delivered in husky tones of a jazz/folk style, the lady who left us with “Careless Love” five years ago, returns with two more albums under her belt and stronger than ever.
WOWfest has the greatest reggae line up of this season and how appropriate that there is also a stage, at this brightest new festival, to revive the mood of the British modern Jazz era of 1950s London clubs, around Carnaby Street, growing at the same time as sounds from the Caribbean were integrating into UK musical culture around the same haunts as jazzfather Johnny Dankworth.
The WOWfest Blue Angel Stage revives the spirit of the great island jazz festivals, but with an extra pinch of WOW. During the day escape into the eclectic world that is jazz – from ’40s swing to bebop and modern fusions, plus the most unexpected – to night time burlesque and comedic cabaret with all the ingredients of turn of the century France or pre-war Berlin. In Das Kabaret see one of the most respected and admired performers in the world of burlesque, LouLou D’vil, along with the King of Comedy Magic, Christian Lee and legendary street performer, Chris Lynam, among others to whip up a froth of expectation and much laughter.
The Blue Angel stage boasts enigmatic renditions from the UK’s hottest vocal harmony group, The Overtones, with songs from their platinum selling album ‘Good Ol’ Fashioned Love’. Influenced by classics artists like Amy Winehouse, Duffy and the Drifters, their unique doo-wop vocal harmonies will be sure to keep audiences spellbound.
Gregg Kofi Brown makes a first time appearance on the festival isle. Gregg has been a member of the world class African pioneers OSIBISA for over 22 years and has travelled all over the world promoting the music of Ghana. His music is an addictive fusion of funky afro-rhythms, jazz and conscience-laden lyrics.
And anticipated to be making a return to the Isle of Wight is DJ Perry Louis & his JazzCotech Dancers or “Red Box Perry” and “those brilliant dancers” as they became affectionately known at IW Jazz Festivals. They’ll be occupying the Blue Angel during the weekend with their own style of Old Skool Jazz, Street Dance and DJ Perry’s enviable collection of over 10,000 vinyls covering all those great genres that have their musical roots in Africa.
Performing on the Blue Angel stage is London born singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Cang who has toured, recorded and written with Ian Drury, Scritti Politti, K.T. Tunstall, Desmond Dekker, Hall and Oates,Marianne Faithfull, Hugh Masakela, Leona Lewis and Aswad – with whom he wrote the million seller hit “Shine”. Joe’s band includes some of the cream of London’s musicians and they are currently playing throughout Europe their unique blend of new classic jazz with a strong hint of blues.
From Ronnie Scotts to Milan and finally to the Isle of Wight’s WOWfest, ex Communard Sarah Jane Morris is one artist that really lets you “Leave your preconceptions at home,” as one London critic said of the sensual singer-songwriter. Sarah straddles rock, blues, jazz and soul with a goosebump-raising four octave range that rumbles from the heels of her size eight shoes to the tips of her flame-red mane. Famed for her association with the Communards in the mid-80s, Sarah has always attracted as much attention for her politics as for her soul-driven, seismic voice.
Other artists gracing the Blue Angel are distinctive Dominican jazz guitarist Cameron Pierre, the Shez Raja Collective, the London Gospel Community Choir, award winning Dennis Rollins – the most exciting British trombonist of our times – and Dixie chicks Larkin Poe, the precociously talented young women who recently took America by storm.
Tickets are available, still promotionally priced at £99 for adult weekenders, from www.wowfest.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: #WOWfestIOW and Facebook: WOWfest. To receive WOWfest Newsletters, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talisman were one of the UK’s top Roots Reggae bands in the later 70’s and early 80’s.The band’s prowess earned them support slots with acts as diverse as Burning Spear, The Clash and The Rolling Stones. They have reformed with the original line up after 30 years apart to support the re-release of their classic roots single ‘Dole Age’ on a brand new album ‘Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection’. One of Bristol’s finest live acts are back and ready to party once again.
Originally formed in 1977 Talisman were consummate performers constantly vying for the title of one of the country’s most popular live reggae bands. They toured the UK building up a loyal following and leaving memories of gigs that are still discussed to this day.
Until now the only way to hear Talisman has been to track down their two difficult to find singles from 1981, or their two later LPs, “Takin’ The Strain” from 1984 and “Jam Rock” From 1990. Now after nearly thirty years Bristol Archive Records have lovingly compiled this CD of the band at their peak in 1981. Not only does the CD contain the band’s two original 7” singles, but also eight carefully selected live cuts from classic shows at Glastonbury Festival and other infamous shows.
Hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978- 1983’ Bristol Archive Records release ‘Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection’ celebrated at their first Bristol show for 20 years at The Fleece in Bristol on 27th May 2011.
March 2012 sees the band re-release their first album “Takin’ the Strain”, originally release in 1984, as a CD (Deluxe Edition) and Digital Download. The nine tracks showcase variety and even include a soul tune, the Deluxe Edition also includes five live bonus tracks.
At the age of 15 I saw a guy at school playing Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ on a acoustic guitar. I thought to myself ….I can do that.
In church I could hear the tones of my mother’s voice when she sang.
Roots and Culture for the mind, laced with humour.
We know what we’re doin’ now.
Receiving messages from people saying how Talisman helped to shape their lives.
The band breaking up too early.
A more mature and seasoned approach to our musical direction.
There are good some messengers out there.
Good music…Good vibes.
Black Roots were a powerful and potent force in the British reggae music scene throughout the 80’s and left a legacy of no less than ten albums and more than eight singles before bowing out of the public eye in the mid-90’s. Hailing from the St Paul’s area of Bristol, the original eight-member band were formed in 1979 and quickly gained a large following by touring almost non-stop around the country, playing their brand of ‘militant pacifism’ roots.
Their debut album “Black Roots” released in 1983 was a highly acclaimed debut for Black Roots and saw them make their mark immediately on the national music scene. Their second album “The Frontline” included the title track “The Frontline” which had been composed at the request of BBC TV for a new television comedy series of the same name. Black Roots’ fourth album “All Day All Night” was produced by Mad Professor. The album “Live Power” was recorded at a gig at the Moles Club in Bath on 22 September 1988, which came about after fans asked for a live album, seeking to capture the power and strength of Black Roots’ tight, vibrant and entertaining stage performance.
In 1991 Black Roots and Neil Fraser released “Dub Factor: The Mad Professor Mixes” along with Black Steel and the horn section from the All Day All Night album. The tenth and final album “Dub Factor 3: Dub Judah & Mad Professor Mixes” released in 1995 finally brought the curtain down on Bristol’s finest exponents of reggae and without doubt, one of Britain’s best loved performing bands of the Eighties.
“If anyone tells you that there is no such thing as good British reggae, first tell them that they are a herbert and then listen to Black Roots.” – John Peel
My earliest memory was listening to a radio competition on RGA in Jamaica in the 60’s with artists such as the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals and so on.
No, only singing in church.
My original influences were by the Wailers and Burning Spear and over the years it’s more or less the same because I’m a roots man at heart.
I’ve never been but I would like to because I’ve heard that they will have a great festival this summer 🙂
Our sound is a mixture of roots, melodic, spiritual and uplifting.
From militants to middle age spiritual fulfillment.
Touring Europe with UB40 in the late 80’s.
When we had a break.
The 6 original members and 5 new additions that complete the jigsaw.
Very computerised without the sense of human feel.
We have a new album coming out in September and a tour coming to promote the album in the new year.
You will see Black Roots in a new rock reggae style with reggae at its heights, the way reggae should be played.
Take a beautiful and fantastic singer, add a world class horn section and some pumping backing tracks. Throw in some electro swing, some R & B, a bit of camp disco, a dollop of drum and bass a smidge of dubstep, add some brilliant hooky pop songs and there you pretty much have it, Kitten and The Hip.
One year ago, Ashley Slater met Kitten Quinn. Ashley was an ex pop star (Freak Power) and Kitten was a beautiful and intelligent singer songwriter. They wrote songs together, they hung out, and they mischiefed. But mostly, they wrote great songs together.
In February, they were having a chat, and Kitten advised Ashley not to worry about something. ‘Don’t You Worry’ was born the next day. A demo was sent to Carl Hanaghan, head of A & R at HedKandi records in London. Less than half an hour later, the phone rang at Kitten HQ, the deal was made, the record was signed and the ball of yarn started rolling.
The single was release in September and has already created a significant noise on the Electro Swing scene. Another of Kitten’s tracks ‘By My Side’ has been signed to ‘Bart and Baker present Electro Swing 4’, which was released November 7th 2011 on Wagram Paris.
Live, they are a quintet, with Kitten singing and Ashley and three brass monkeys playing horns. Kitten is a natural onstage, at once mesmerising and seductive.
It’s a party with class, so don’t forget your ass!
Kitten: I started dancing at 3 years old and then got into musical theatre at an early age as well. I think that explain some of the theatricality of our music.
The Hip: My dad played almost any stringed instrument, my mom couldn’t carry tune if it was in a bucket. Bless.
Kitten: I love pop music. I’ve always been into great modern female singers like Lauryn Hill and Whitney Houston, all of the big divas. I also listened to a lot of country folk and rock when I was younger.
The Hip: Indeed I have. I’ve guest lectured at Platform One College a few times and what a lovely institution that is.
Kitten: It’s a big sound because we use backing tracks as well as live musicians. Very heavy bass and beats, so it works well in a club. Obviously, there’s a lot of singing, I like to layer up bf’s forever… And then I sing out over the top of all this, which can be quite a challenge.
The Hip: Well, we’re only one year old but our sound has gone through quite a few changes already. We’re still looking for the ideal live sound, we’ve gone form having backing tracks with three horns to doing lot of duo gigs with backing tracks to our current line-up, which is Kitten, me, drums and guitar. And…backing tracks. In the studio, our sound is defined by Kitten’s voice.
Kitten: Well, my career has only just started, but I’ve had my share of high times already. We did a gig in Ostrava last year standing in for another band. There were 3,000 people in a room who had never heard of us, but we rocked that room for an hour and made a lot of friends. We also had a memorable gig in Paris where we had a few half naked men crawling all over the stage. Kind of weird…
The Hip: Haha. You haven’t got enough space for that, but there have been a few.
Kitten: I sing, The Hip sings and plays trombone (not at the same time) we have a guitarist called Duncan Wilson who is a mental and a drummer called Gillan McLaughlin who needs a good spanking!
The Hip: I think it’s better than ever. There’s always a layer of scum floating on the top of anything, but dig down a little bit and music is vibrant, interesting and very much alive.
Kitten: We have an album ready to go and are looking for the right partners to work with to release it. There’s a single coming out on Freshly Squeezed quite soon (it may be out by the time you read this). Basically, our goal is to be huge and that’s what’s going to happen!
The Hip: Great songs, great players and a great time.
Best known as singer, toaster and composer with The Specials, and as one of the founding members of Fun Boy 3, Neville Staple is credited with changing the face of pop music not only once but twice.
Catch his show these days, and you’ll get a mix of old favourites from The Specials/Fun Boy three back catalogue plus choice solo releases.
Neville’s first involvement with The Specials was when they were still called The Coventry Automatics. He initially joined as their roadie but at a gig supporting The Clash, Neville took to the stage and never looked back. For a while, The Clash’s manager Bernard Rhodes managed The Specials. Neville used to toast of Bernie, “Bernie Rhodes knows. Don’t argue” at the beginning of the Specials hit single “Gangsters”.
When The Specials split up, Neville departed with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, to form Fun Boy Three. They had a string of chart hits, some in collaboration with the all- female trio Bananarama.
It was officially confirmed on the 7 April 2008 that the Specials were to reform, and on the 6 September 2008, six members of the band performed on the Main Stage at the Bestival billed as the ‘Surprise Act’. By December 2008, the band had announced 2009 tour dates to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Throughout 2010 the band played many festival dates and toured the USA in the early autumn. After which Neville returned to the UK with a string of dates with his own incredibly tight band. 2011 saw Neville play various festivals including Glastonbury and Beatherder, also supporting Madness.
Neville’s autobiography, THE ORIGINAL RUDE BOY, was published by Aurum Press in the UK in May 2009.