The second official London ReMixed Festival was lavishly presented, beautifully executed and filled to the rafters with diverse musical talent. Set over seven stages in the heart of London’s Shoreditch there was plenty on offer throughout the night to entertain the most avid of music lovers
The first act I caught was the wonderful Family Atlantica, playing at the main stage at Rich Mix. Opening with a sterling piece by the three percussionists, the ever-radiant Luzmira Zerpa – the Venezuelan-born poet and singer – then stepped to the stage and proceeded to lead us on a musical journey through South America to Africa, making the Atlantic connection with her fellow musicians. Treating us to pieces from their eponymous debut as well as a big dance-off led by the calabash player, Family Atlantica demonstrated why they’re considered to be one of the most exciting groups living and playing in London at the moment.
Taking a trip in the ingenious and hotly anticipated ‘Disco Lift’ – where one could not move for tinsel and glitter balls – I found two more stages on the fourth floor. The Folk Ghetto was host to the sounds of Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra coercing us into a hugely enjoyable hoedown with their mix of country and blues. Across the hall was the Polka Club, with the foot-stomping led by Tantz and The John Langan Band: a raucous mix of Balkan melodies, waltzes and the more-than-occasional polka kept the packed theatre on their feet until late into the night.
Just a short walk away the Future African Underground at Village Underground presented acts including the ten-piece Afrobeat collective Nubiyan Twist and the Dub Colossus Sound System. A very special show from the Glaswegian Auntie Flo saw him team up with South African percussionist Esa for a set of live drumming and Fela-tinged beats. Building from a simple riff, the music evolved into polyrhythmic and densely textured grooves, and this set was the highlight of the evening for me.
By curating a strong roster of artists, and in providing one of the most outlandishly fun atmospheres at any event this year, London ReMixed has succeeded in keeping the fire and festivities of the summer months burning well into the cold winter.