KNOCKENGORROCH 2018

So following on from Big Love in Wales on the first May Bank Holiday, I’ll be back at Knockengorroch in Scotland at the end of the month (also a Bank Holiday).

Having originally started as Ceilidh Gall Gallowa’ Festival 20 years ago, Knock has a solid grassroots following and a party seasoned family crowd, which alongside the stunning scenery of the Scottish Uplands, makes for one of my favourite festivals. Well worth the drive up from Bristol and in fact I was surprised last time how many others had made the same journey.

Organised as a ‘World Ceilidh’, their selection of Global acts amongst the rest of the line up is always impressive, so as well as festival favourites such as Honeyfeet, Resonators, Tankus The Henge, Jenova Collective and Kobi Onyame whom I mentioned yesterday, here’s a few of the bands I’m most looking forwards to seeing whilst there….

Transglobal Underground feat. Natacha Atlas

One of the first bands to really hook me into the fusion of UK electronic music with Asian, African and Arabic sounds in the 90s and as much as I love their current line ups, I’m excited to see them play some of their earlier classics with their original line up, especially as I’ve never seen them perform with Natacha before.

Les Amazones d’Afrique

This is such a strong collective of musicians! I’d be surprised to see all of them at the live shows so it’s tricky to describe using individual members, but I have no doubt it will be an epic performance and if you haven’t caught their album yet I highly recommend it. They’re an all star female group from West Africa who came together to help push gender equality.

TootArd

Although I’d not heard these guys before last year’s ‘Laissez Passer’, I’m a big fan of their recent album and really look forwards to seeing how it translates live. I originally thought they might be a Tuareg band from Mali given the distinct ‘Desert Blues’ influence on their music, but they’re actually from Golan Heights, a part of Syria occupied by Israel since the Six Day War.

My Baby

Pretty sure I’ve mentioned these guys before as they’re one of the bands I’m really excited about this festival season. An amazing mix of Bluesy Psychedelic Rock, Soul and Dance Music from Amsterdam.

There are plenty of other great bands, you can see the full line up here. It’s also not just me DJing, names so far released include Luke Vibert, Ixindamix, Dolphin Boy, the Amen4Tekno / JungletekMafia crew and Mungos Hi Fi Sound System who always have their full rig and an extended session at the festival.

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Kobi Onyame – Wedadi (A Short Film)

This is Kobi’s directorial debut as he builds a film about “dying to ourselves and our selfishness and ego and to live for other” around the latest track to be taken from his excellent ‘Gold’ album which is a vital listen if you’ve not heard it.

I’m happy to say I’ll be at two of his up-coming shows (see below), I’ll tell you all about Knockengorroch later this week and he’ll be on the Windmill Stage in Whistler’s Green at this year’s Boomtown, here’s the dates.

The Waiting Room, London, 30 Apr; – tickets

Knockengorroch World Ceilidh, 24-27 May; tickets

Boomtown Festival, 9-12 Aug – sold out

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BIG LOVE 2018

With no Glastonbury this year, Secret Garden Party having called it a day and Bestival moving to the weekend before Boomtown (when I’m sadly too busy to go and join in the fun), I figured this year might be a good time to reconnect with some of the many smaller festivals to be found here in the UK. There’s a few that I’ve never managed to get to previously and some that I have loved in the past and wanted to return. Rather than just list their names, which isn’t particularly useful or interesting, I figure it’s better to give you a little introduction to each as I announce, with a few of my choice picks from the line up.

It makes sense to start with the first of the festival season Big Love (May 4-6th – Bank Holiday), which for me is like a family gathering. Under 1000 people at the Baskerville Hall Mansion in Haye On Wye, organised by some really good friends of mine and populated largely by various generations of Welsh party folk I grew up with during my years as a DJ and promoter in my hometown of Cardiff. If you’ve not been before, it’s a super fun and friendly vibe and you can still pick up a camping ticket for under £90. I’m really happy to be playing the closing set there this year, and I might well pop up elsewhere on the Saturday.

Whilst not playing myself I’ll more than likely be dancing to some of these guys….

OH MY GOD IT’S THE CHURCH

I’ve seen these guys on countless occasions now and I still love their show every time. Think singalong soul classics in a twisted Deep South Pentecostal church service where absinthe baptisms and sexy Jesus rule. They’re super fun and I’m sure they’d go down well at every UK festival bar maybe Greenbelt (though possibly even there).

SIAN EVANS & FULL BAND

I first met Sian in Germany during the mid 90s with her old band Backbone, she’s an incredible singer and a beautiful soul, plus let’s not forget as the lead singer of Kosheen (not to mention guest vocalist with DJ Fresh) she’s been a bonafide Dance music super star to boot. I’ve seen her perform on everything from open mics to main stages and each time she manages a wonderful personal connection with the crowd, I’d definitely recommend catching her.

STAGGA & MAGUGU

As well as being the only act I saw from start to finish at Boomtown this year, these boys have a seriously good thing going on right now. Gilles Peterson is just one early supporter of their Bass Music, Dancehall and Nigerian Pidgin Rap blend, plus as well as being one of my Chrome Kids family back in the day, Stagga’s supporters alone have included the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs, Rusko, Brackles, N-Type, RSD and Daedelus.

ECKLECTIC MICK

Nearly 70 years old and one of the coolest motherf**kers I know. After a strong fine art career Mick turned to music once his eyesight started fading and became a champion of Electro-Blues, signing his productions to Freshly Squeezed and finally being talked into DJing. He has since played every festival under the sun with his collection of Swing, Blues and Hoedown remixes and remains both a musical mind that puts most to shame and a champion raconteur with a lifetime’s worth of great stories under his belt and he’s still creating more everywhere he goes.

VIBE ROULETTE

Put together by the guys behind Junior Jungle and the Micro-Rave, this is far more than just a DJ set, spin the wheel and see where it lands! It could be Jungle, Disco or even TV Themes. I had the pleasure of taking part in one of their shows last year and I can vouch that it’s the most fun.

NEIL F**KING YOUNG

There are some brilliant House DJs at Big Love, from Joy Orbison to Bodhi, Clare James to Organ Grinder, but Neil is one of my all time favourites. He used to play after us at the Big Love Inflatable Church in Bestival every year (every night) and his sets were epic, sweaty affairs that packed out the venue and always broke the curfew. Neil is so passionate for music and DJing that his enthusiasm spreads to anyone lucky enough to witness his sets, I’ve been caught up many times over the years and will no doubt be down the front for this one too.

There are many more great DJs and bands so feel free to ask for more recommendations if you’re going and don’t forget to see me on Sunday! Tickets are available here.

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BOOMTOWN LINE UP 2018 – WHISTLER’S GREEN PT 1

It was a tricky prospect bringing Jazz to Boomtown but last year felt like exactly the right time and we were proved right! This year The Windmill is very much sticking with a Jazz heavy line up with some of the best UK artists such as Zara McFarlane, Alfa Mist, Mammal Hands, Vels Trio and Blue Lab Beats alongside the more soulful side of things with the legendary Bilal, Connie Constance and Nubiyan Twist, boundary pushing East African artist Otim Alpha, in fact boundaries pushing all over the place with the likes of Benin City, Kobi Onyame, Kalaha, Shama Rahman and arguable this country’s most exciting and forward thinking record label Black Acre Records doing a whole Thursday takeover with Romare’s Full Live Band, Clap! Clap!, Rocks FOE (the greatest Grime artist in the country by now by my standards) and Scott Xylo. Top this off with headliners such as Maribou State and Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart and hopefully you see why I’m most excited about this stage… if you don’t get it then here’s a video playlist to help you along!

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BOOMTOWN HEADLINER RELEASE 2018 (CHAPTER 10)

I’ve been busy putting the Boomtown line up together! For those who missed the first announcement, here it is…

Plus here’s a little playlist I put together for it, which pretty much follows the poster left to right. More to come as the remaining district releases come out.

In case you missed the first trailer video for Chapter 10, here’s that also.

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Baloji – Soleil De Volt

A beautiful blend of Hip-hop and Afrobeat, French House and Post Punk, this latest from Belgian based artist Baloji is super catchy considering I have no handle of the language whatsoever. It’s taken from his forthcoming album ‘137 Avenue Kaniama’ due for release on Bella Union – 23 March 2018.

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Baja Frequencia feat. Skarra Mucci – Badman a Badman

Saw these guys supporting Chinese Man (they’re signed to their record label) in Bristol last night and they rocked it. I have to give a nod of respect to the 02 Academy for finally updating their in house PA to L-Acoustics as it really helped these fellas. It’s rare I enjoy any shows in that venue but the new system thankfully transforms the space.

I’m not entirely sure what bracket these guys fall into, I’m hesitant to use the word Tropical but I’m sure many would (okay so technically I just did), however this track has elements of Dem Bow Dancehall and Trap with vocals courtesy of Skarra Mucci, a Jamaican artist now based in Europe who is as consistently quailty as he is prolific when it comes to tunes.

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