photos by MindGame Films
On Saturday 3rd October 2015, Barcelona was witness to the 12th edition of Hipnotik: a day-long festival dedicated to the culture of hip hop, including performances, street dance and mc battles, and a live debate ‘Open Minds’, featuring some of the guest artists. With the festival’s steadily increasing success, in a genre not often associated with Spanish culture, I was very curious to see how the evening would pan out. The setting was the CCCB, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona: an artistic and urban space in the Raval: an historic barrio teaming with the clichés and enchantments – and everything in between – of Barcelona.READ MORE
From the moment you press ‘play’, Tales From The Land Of Milk and Honey invites you into a colourful world of sublime production, with clever and endearing vocals, and where samba, house, R&B, funk and disco all meet and have a good time. But, although these genres are clearly apparent, this is definitely new music. This is the fifth studio album from the groundbreaking Foreign Exchange collective. Two years on from Love in Flying Colours, and eleven years after their debut Connected, the original duo Nicolay and Phonte are joined here by vocalists Shana Tucker, Tamisha Waden, Carmen Rodgers, Carlitta Durand and by producer extraordinaire Zo!.
It’s dancing shoes time with ‘Milk and Honey’, a gutsy electro-samba number that sees Phonte accompanied by the coquettish sound of Shana Tucker. The composition slides effortlessly, in both style and technique, into ‘Work It To The Top’ – a fresh track that nods at 80s funk, evoking the energy of a Cameo number. The tone mellows down on ‘Truce’, an honest reflection on relationships, as it does on the charming ‘Sevenths and Ninths’, which plays on the idea that the special quality of such chords should be used in romantic expression.READ MORE
photos by Paul Box – firstname.lastname@example.org
A warm July Saturday afternoon finds an influx of people from all of over the city – and surrounding region no doubt – heading to Bristol’s picturesque Harbourside to witness an until recently unprecedented show. Many are students, but groups of middle-aged people, parents with young children, and those clearly over 60 can also be spotted. Tickets had sold out weeks before: this was something to see.
At the appointed hour, Lloyd’s Amphitheatre begins to shows signs of activity. I am standing next to my partner-in-dancing-crime, both of us excited to see how the live performance of the drum and bass album which had had a massive impact on us 20 years previous, turns out. I am of course talking about Goldie’s 1995 studio album Timeless. Bumping into him before the show we were only given an enigmatic “You’ll see, you’ll see…” in response to our interrogations about it. Our curiosity is peaking.
What is left of a people, after even their concept of existence is obliterated?
The influences of Sub-Saharan African music, art, cuisine, philosophy and religion are widespread in the West, mostly as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. All around, dotted in background and foreground music for example, there are hints of Africa – watered-down or arranged from equations designed for quick consumption and minimal engagement on an emotional, spiritual or psychological level.
This music – in both its motherland and evolved forms – a fundamental feature entwined into a culture’s existence, has allowed people to transcend time and space for centuries. This transcending factor is necessary, I believe, to be able to comprehend how – through the music – the people who were forced from the Old World to the New, transcended kidnap, slavery, alienation and persecution. With its distinctive features: complex polyrhythms, call-and-response, polyharmonies and improvisation to name a few, this music provides a connection between the Earth and the Spiritual. And so it makes sense that a majority of races and cultures are inspired by and embrace it – they can’t get enough of it! Because after all, we be spirits.READ MORE