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Atlantic Waves 10nov09: WOMEX 09

“The most important international professional market of world music of every kind. This international fair brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films. It contributes to networking as an effective means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers.” UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity

“WOMEX, the biggest world music trade fair on the planet” The Australian

“World music fans and professionals must etch one event permanently into their diaries: the WOMEX conference, exhibition and festival! […] It was my first time attending this world music expo in Sevilla, and I am totally addicted now! In addition to meeting hundreds of bookers, labels, cultural promotion agencies and musicians, the highlight is catching 45 [49!] bands from around the world live in concert.” Madanmohan Rao, World Music Editor at Rave Magazine & RJ, India

90 Atlantic Waves 10nov09

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Atlantic Waves 03nov09: LIFEM 09

When I say this is a festival of exploratory music, I am not really referring to a genre. It is rather a proactive attitude about all kinds of music. My inspiration is the 15th- and 16th-century European explorers who would set out from the Continent and sail through the Atlantic to discover the rest of the world.

What I explore in music is something that is different, surprising and challenging, so it is essential that LIFEM should differ from other festivals. Curiosity is my main motive. There are so many interesting musical cultures out there, and like many other people, I have yet to encounter them all. That urges me to explore more, often bringing me surprises which I love to share.

This year’s LIFEM is again full of exciting and novel acts. It starts with two classically-influenced artists from Britain: singer-composer Jenni Roditi, whose genre-shifting voice and diverse music fuse different forms in a minimalistic trend, and Andrew Poppy, an eclectic artist whose music has been compared to Cabaret Voltaire and Philip Glass.

In terms of themes, we have a Japanese night that introduces a very modern kind of electronic music by Midori Hirano, Oorutaichi and DJ Scotch Egg. Likewise, the Brazilian night treats us with three acts by Coletivo Rádio Cipó, Daniel Peixoto and Da Cruz: modern Brazilian music that is not just traditional samba or bossa nova.

We also have a Chinese act, but forget the stereotyped associations of Chinese music with traditional Far Eastern tunes: Lonely China Day is a modern rock band, with a very different approach than most Anglo-American bands. Their concert is preceded by the Gaelic singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna’s inspiring rendition of Irish folk tunes, and Tri a Tolia, combining Turkish voice, Iraqi qanun and Belgian cello for a performance of sad, beautiful songs about love, loss and longing.

Another thematic night takes us to as far as the Arctic territories, pairing the acts of two Eskimo performers: Tanya Tagaq, the contemporary Inuit throat singer-composer from Nunavut – Canada, has collaborated with names such as Björk and Kronos Quartet; and Nive Nielsen is an Inuk singer-songwriter from Greenland, accompanying her songs with her ukulele.

I am equally enthusiastic about the night of Gypsy, Klezmer and Ceilidh. That is bound to be extremely rich and diverse as the music of Les Yeux Noirs (France); Cukunft (Poland) and Monster Ceilidh Band (UK) represent three old traditions of social dance and party music culture.

While having such a diverse programme to enjoy, it is also delightful to see Kings Place as the new home to LIFEM. Perfectly located next to King’s Cross – St Pancras, the new gateway to Europe, I think it is an ideal venue for such a festival as it embraces all types of musical genres and activities, an attitude which I very much appreciate.

In the meantime, keep an eye on lifem.org.uk for other exciting news…

89 Atlantic Waves 03nov09

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Atlantic Waves 20oct09: LIFEM 09

The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music (LIFEM) unites the myspace generation of musical explorers from the four corners of the globe.

Produced by Red Orange and presented in the perfect acoustics of Kings Place, LIFEM has truly exploited the incredible potential of the world-wide-web to seek the most exciting finds from the far East, the middle East, the Arctic Circle, south America and East and West Europe. LIFEM shows just what the internet can do for world music.

LIFEM has curated evenings which bring together a selection of artists from shared continents to reveal the commonality and differences between them.

Kings Place’s Hall 2 presents three dancefloor fillers from Brazil, where the well-loved rhythms of samba have mutated via musical technology to create exotic electronica. With a powerful political message are Coletivo Rádio Cipó community activists, and their music fuses Brazilian styles funk de morro, samba, pontos de terreiros, carimbó and batucada with hip hop, dub and electro beats. Daniel Peixoto brings it bang up to date with dirty, DIY electro pop with more than his slashed neon t-shirts in common with German electro-trash. Closing the sweaty non-stop dancing is Da Cruz and her clash of bossa, indie-rock, electro, samba, dubstep and jazz. Selected to perform at LIFEM earlier this year, Da Cruz has just been announced on the Womex 09 programme.

A classically trained pianist, Midori Hirano had engaged the industry’s curiosity well before the EP release Poet at the Piano and European tour in 2004. Organic layers of piano, strings and electronic sampling create delicate, transparent sound poems. Oorutaichi contrasts sharply with Midori’s wistfulness, producing upfront technicolour songs influenced by Tyrannosaurus Rex, Aphex Twin and Dancehall Reggae. The founder of Okimi Records, Oorutaichi’s other projects include dancehall / broken toy music duo Obakejaa (with DJ Shabu Shabu) and Urichipangoon, a 4 piece progressive folk band featuring ex-Boredoms drummer Muneomi Senju. The brilliantly monikered DJ Scotch Egg brings LIFEM to a close with his surreal set of performance DJing. Armed only with a megaphone, four Nintendo Game Boys and a mixer, his gabber and breaknoise tracks are brought to a close with the hurling of scotch eggs into the crowd.

Alongside this whirlwind tour of global music, LIFEM also presents a free programme of award-winning short films making their UK debut.

www.lifem.org.uk

87 Atlantic Waves 20oct09

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