Listen: Premiere of Vula Viel's 'Do Not Be Afraid' | Songlines
12 October 2018

Listen: Premiere of Vula Viel's 'Do Not Be Afraid'

By Tim Romain

Get a first listen to Vula Viel's latest single 'Do Not Be Afraid', the title-track from their forthcoming album.

Vula Viel Live.jpg (2)

Musical adventurers Vula Viel are back with the latest from their experimental journey taking the gyil (Ghanaian xylophone) into daring new territory.

Drawing from a musical formation at Guildhall and an apprenticeship to a master gyil player in Upper West Ghana, bandleader Bex Burch first brought the two traditions together in 2015 for their album Good is Good, which wove a unique sound thick with polyrhythms and organised harmonies that was swiftly christened 'Ghanaian minimalism.'

'Do Not Be Afraid' is the title-track of their forthcoming album, due for release on January 25 2019, that sees the original five-piece set-up stripped back to a trio of Burch (gyil, vocals), Ruth Goller (bass) and Jim Hart (drums). The track starts off sparsely, building into a euphoric finale; 'Do not be afraid' might well be the mantra of this band as it gains confidence in itself and its sound.

Of the lyrics, Burch says: "I grew up with the words in this song guiding and encouraging me as they hung on a batik in my parent's home. The meaning constantly changes for me as I discover more about my pain and fear, but one thing remains: Breathe, and Do Not Be Afraid."

Vula Viel are playing at the Vortex Jazz Club on 19 November. Get tickets here.

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