“Mbongwana Star (‘Mbongwana’ meaning ‘change’) are a newly formed band from Kinshasa, Congo. Tired of the pre-conceptions around African music, they’re creating their own identity, fusing traditional Congolese rhythms with post punk and electronics. Full of energy and utterly original, here’s a brand new track from their forthcoming album.”
Liking the trippy psychedelic grooves. On the wish list.
It’s great to learn that Congolese musicians are fighting against ‘pre-conceptions’ about African music.
And what, with all the heinous activity happening out it’s great to hear such well crafted music. Enjoy!
I have been asked to compose string arrangements for Lizzie Emeh’s new LP. I thought I’d find this quite easy as my compositions tend to be quite melodic, oh how naive of me!
So as the stress levels have increased (writer’s block) – I decided to take a day off working on the tracks, start a 6000 word research essay due in 3 weeks (!!), and listened to great string arrangers. Whilst figuring out how to create arrangements for Lizzie’s tracks, I have enjoyed working on the texture/warmth/subtleties. What I have found challenging is being bold at the right moment. Thanks to Mark at Heart and Soul for being patient with me and giving me this opportunity. Time to step up now!
At the start of the year, I was fortunate to have an orchestral piece called “Chef Concertino” performed at Birmingham Conservatoire. The composition department has an annual competition where composition students can submit works to be performed; the best 6 are chosen.
My performance incorporated two passions: food and music. It featured my chef uncle and Graeme Rose from Stan’s Cafe. It was a good first attempt and a lot of work went into it. I would make more tweaks if I had time, such as more interaction between orchestra and chef, but there’s only so many hours in the day.
(Photographer Vanley Burke with curator Ian Sergeant)
‘X’ was revolution no. 20, under the Free School events curated by Ian Sergeant. It was inspired by an intriguing, enthralling and what John L. Williams calls a tragicomic story of black political activist Michael X.
Initially Ian Sergeant wanted a performance inspired by black British politics in the Midlands. Shamefully, knowing very little about black British politics I penned some ideas for an audio-visual performance, calling in artist and musician Matt Watkins to assist. Ian had just started reading the John L. Williams book and quite quickly his ideas changed…. Michael X became the focal point. I have to admit, I was resistant, having reservations because I was invested in the first idea, but once I read the biography it all made sense. I am glad Ian made that change! Continue reading “X”→
We are getting there… thank goodness for that, as I’m having the trippiest dreams as the pressure is on.
Young people have written two original sets of lyrics for songs using the riddims of Steel Pulse and Burning Spear, I have an a capella idea for the final ditty, we have one session left to devise/rehearse, using “Hail Him”. We shall see what the young people think of my idea.
My Uchenna dance score commission deadline fast approaches. It’s been good fun working on it, is my compositional skill developing? I hope so. I am starting to see patterns in my musical style which is good, this awareness will mean I can take more compositional risks, (as I’m starting to grow bored of what I am producing).
I’ve spent most of today following the Vocab Dance brief of starting with a seed, so long intros. What excites me about the live performance aspect is seeing/hearing the vocal artists improvise over the loops I’ve created. Continue reading “E14 baby!”→
I’ve been commissioned by Vocab Music to write some music for dance – inspired by youth culture. The brief is to create music that develops from a seed to include variation and development, mainly instrumental, loop based, hip hop deluxe. This morning I messed around with midi, thought I’d share some sketches. I’ve also been bouncing ideas off other artists’ work, a challenge but good fun.
Funny what you can do under pressure. This sketch took 30 mins, very simple, but I like the bounciness.
This needs a lot of refinement, but anyho…. What do you think? Left hand is messy, need to practice! Lol! Quantize, Quantize, arpeggio exercises! The challenge is making it sound hip hop, slightly inspired by Dilla’s Suite for Ma Dukes.
Second one – audio sent through another artist, added some strings and a b-line.