Posts Tagged ‘rich mix’

Live Review | ÌFÉ at London’s Rich Mix, September 23

Posted on October 13th, 2016 in Live, Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Liam Izod, photo by Mariángel Gonzales

On the strength of the release of just two music videos, Puerto Rican group ÌFÉ were able to command a packed crowd for their UK debut at London’s Rich Mix in Shoreditch. An impressive feat given that producer/percussionist Otura Mun’s group are hardly your typical commercial proposition. ÌFÉ offer an experimental vision of organic electronic music, alloyed with Yoruban theology, the religion in which Mun is a babalao (priest).

Dressed in matching robe-like white shirts and kufi hats, and all sporting large headphones, ÌFÉ’s four percussionists looked like they had come direct from a silent disco at a theological conference. The somewhat shambolic impression carried through to the music. Clave rhythms ricocheted across the stage, triggering murky electro blips and plonks, by means of sensors rigged to the percussion. One woodblock –gaffer taped and trailing a cable – had the appearance of an improvised explosive, but ÌFÉ’s grooves were far from incendiary.

The group’s vocals were a highlight though, with every member singing in powerful chorus. It felt devotional at times, and clearly resonated with many in the audience, whether they understand the lyrics or not. Singer Kathy Cepeda cut a particularly charismatic figure, growling into the mic and exhorting the audience to dance.

While not revolutionary, ÌFÉ’s UK live debut had a raucous raw energy. As the group develop, there may be more than just the Shoreditch-istas at Rich Mix who will want to join Otura Mun’s groove infused guerilla movement.

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An ÌFÉ less ordinary

Posted on September 15th, 2016 in Live, Recent posts by .

ÌFÉ - House of Love

Liam Izod previews the UK live debut of the Puerto Rican group ÌFÉ, who undertake an experimental fusion of percussion, electronics and dance.

We live in an era of producers stepping out from behind their studio consoles to share top billing with performers and even eclipse them. So we perhaps owe thanks to this blurring of the boundary between producer and artist for Otura Mun’s intriguing new project and group ÌFÉ, who make their live UK debut at Rich Mix on September 23 amid much hype and mystery.

Otura Mun – a drummer by background – has been producing on the Puerto Rican scene since he arrived from the US in the 90s. Artists like Mima, Cultura Profética and Calma Carmona have all benefitted from his affinity with rhythm and groove. He decided to launch a solo project last year, after a chance engagement with the Life Magazine archive coverage of the 1965 Watts riots in LA, scenes that echo depressingly loud in the modern US of Mun’s birth. From ‘Life’ came ìfé, the Yoruba word for ‘love’ and ‘expansion.’

Expansion is an appropriate motto for ÌFÉ, as Mun takes a multi-sensory approach to music, treating dance and videography as equal partners. ÌFÉ’s most revolutionary expansion is to add a harmonic dimension to percussive instruments. Otura Mun has practiced some musical DIY, fitting traditional percussion with electronic sensors that trigger harmonic elements.

Otura Mun

In an interview with New York Based journalist and academic Ed Morales, Mun explains ‘I love electronic music, but it’s always seemed a little stiff and rigid.’ His electro percussion allows him to dispense with the strait-jacket of pre-programmed sequences without losing the expanded musical palette that electronics allow. The result – complex currents of groove punctuated by catchy electro squelches – is unsettling in its novelty but stays with you.

Otura Mun is ordained in the Yoruba religion as a priest or babalao, which literally means ‘father of mysteries.’ There is certainly a lot of mystery and mysticism around ÌFÉ, who have only released two tracks so far. September brings an opportunity for Londoners to see how the ÌFÉ experiment translates to the live stage. It promises to be an out-of-the-ordinary experience.

ÌFÉ play Rich Mix in Bethnal Green on September 23.

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Live Review | Tarabband, Rich Mix, London July 22

Posted on August 3rd, 2016 in Recent posts by .

Tarabband ©MiriamAbdullaWords and photo by Miriam Abdulla

Tarabband’s frontwoman, Nadin Al Khalidi, greeted the audience with “salam alekum”  (‘peace be upon you’), which also happens to be the title of their opening song. The Arab majority audience cheered, replying with an excited “walaikum salam!” The ninth song from their new album, ‘Salam Alekum’ was an aptly chosen response to the current troubled times and set the absorbing tone of the evening.

Having grown up during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, Al Khalidi chronicled real-life stories of people affected by the war. Each story, translated into song, bears with it the feeling of pain, suffering, loss and sorrow. The simplicity of the verses accompanied by the buoyant sounds of the saz and mandole (lutes) delivered a moving portrayal of the emotions felt by Al Khalidi and her chosen subjects of war.

But for Al Khalidi, the crudeness of her songs – she reflected on “how the roots of my heart sound” – required something else to bring the stories home to the audience. Determined to instil the message of her songs, she validated each with a brief introduction.

Halfway through their set, Tarabband changes tone, breaking the sullen mood of her narration, Al Khalidi introduced the story of Yasmin, a young girl lost to war. Via Yasmin, she reminded us to celebrate the memories of the children of war and to reflect upon them as inspiration to help us become better people.

Despite the underlying solemnity of the evening’s performance, the audience remained upbeat – dancing, clapping and cheering. In keeping with their name – tarab meaning ‘ecstasy through music’ – the night climaxed with an old favourite demanded by loyal fans – ‘Baghdad Choby’.

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All Night Freedom Festival, Rich Mix, March 27

Posted on March 19th, 2015 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


Soumik Datta and London’s Rich Mix present a full 12-hours of live music from some of the best young artists 

Starting at 8pm on March 27, Rich Mix will host an epic 12-hour all-night music festival of back-to-back performances by some of the best young artists around, as curated by saord player Soumik Datta (pictured).

The Freedom Festival will feature 15 artists and everything from a young Afghan rubab prodigy to modern Palestinian dabke dance, allowing you the freedom to party, listen, dance or just hang out to some excellent music all evening long. The festival aims to highlight ‘the relationship between artists and national independence, and to celebrate the art of these groups, which consciously or subconsciously, reflect their nation’s liberty.’

The full line-up:

8:00pm – Saachi Sen: Young British-Indian singer-songwriter
9:00pm – Kefaya: Reworked revolutionary anthems and world folk grooves
11:00pm – Shammi Pithia & Flux: The bansuri player and his band who recently top iTunes world music chart
1:00am – Khiyo Acoustic: A modern take on Bengali folk, film and protest songs
3:00am – 47Soul & Al Zaytouna: Modern dabke music and dance from Palestine
5:00am – Circle of Sound: Sarod and percussion duet, Soumik Datta and Bernhard Schimpelsberger
7:00am – Quest Ensemble: A unique piano trio fusing chamber, jazz, folk and 20th-century classical music

10:00pm – Fiona Bevan: Folk-pop singer-songwriter
12:00am – Samay: Indo-jazz trio with saxophone, tabla and bass
2:00am – Soumik Datta & Shahbaz Hussain: Indian classical improvisation on sarod and tabla
4:00am – Rosabella Gregory: Half Egyptian singer-songwriter
6:00am – Saphwat Simab: Young Afghan rubab prodigy

Tickets are available on the Rich Mix website.

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