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 for other exciting news…

89 Atlantic Waves 03nov09


Atlantic Waves 06oct09: LIFEM 09

The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music 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.

The Festival opens with a look at our very own island and a night of classically influenced ‘minimalist avant chamber pop’. Jenni Roditi has garnered rave reviews of her passionate and absorbing work. Unbound by traditional limits, she explores her voice’s potential to create captivating performances. Andrew Poppy is renowned for his minimalist electro and compositions for opera, orchestra, films and contemporary dance. Sometimes compared to Cabaret Voltaire and Philip Glass, this concert sees Poppy performing on piano and his own downtempo electronics.

Songs and singers from the Arctic Circle brings together two Inuk singers; Goldfrapp-like Nive Nielsen from Greenland and guttural throat-singer Tanya Tagaq. Nive has emerged from the stark isolation of the Greenland geography with an originality and of-the-moment sound created by her stunning voice and little red ukulele. Her debut album is being produced by PJ Harvey’s musical partner John Parish and promises great things. Tanya Tagaq has appeared several times in the UK, each visit bringing exciting new developments in her sound. Worldwide her extraordinary voice and quirky manner has led to collaborations with Björk, Kronos Quartet and Mike Patton. She learnt the rhythmic throat singing of the women Inuk as a child, but through evolving relationships with new collaborators, she continues to explore the sonic potential of her powerful voice.

Wednesday, 04 November 09

UK minimalist avant chamber pop
19:45 – 20:30 Jenni Roditi (UK) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here
21:00 – 21:45 Andrew Poppy (UK) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here

Thursday, 05 November 09

Inuk snow songs, ice folk and throat singing
19:45 – 20:30 Nive Nielsen (Greenland) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here
21:00 – 21:45 Tanya Tagaq (Canada) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here

85 Atlantic Waves 06oct09