Thursday 24 January 2019, 7.30pm
“Dance to it, make love to it, consume it, listen to it, stare at the clouds to it!” – Iggy Pop
“One of my discoveries for the London Jazz Festival... Good is Good” – Gilles Peterson
“They were the unexpected stars of a glitzy show” – John Fordham, The Guardian (UK)
Forward-thinking UK trio Vula Viel release their sophomore album, ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ at Cafe OTO on 24th January 2019, continuing their unique musical journey centred around the Gyil (Ghanaian xylophone).
The band’s new set confidently weaves sparse polyrhythms and intricate rhythm structures around bandleader Bex Burch’s Gyil lines and take the instrument’s sound into new territory, with bassist Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Rokia Traore) and drummer Jim Hart (Cloudmakers, Ralph Alessi, Electric Biddle) introducing a rough, post-punk edge to the band’s sound.
With support from Peter Zummo, join us for an evening of truly unique music with the unassuming ability to blur the lines between atmospheres and genres. Minimalist and a whole lot more!
Vula Viel was formed in 2013 by Bex Burch. After studying at Guildhall and training as a classical percussionist, she embarked on a life-changing three-year period living, farming and studying with xylophone master Thomas Segura in Upper West Ghana; the band’s name means ‘Good is Good’ in the Dagaare language. After being mentored in the deep traditions around the Gyil, a large African xylophone made of sacred lliga wood, Burch began the journey to bring the instrument into her own music. The acclaimed debut Vula Viel album in 2015, ‘Good is Good’, was the first realisation of her vision and ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ is the first set of Burch originals,written on traditional Dagaare forms.
Described as “Ghanaian minimalism”, with the unassuming ability to blur the lines between atmospheres – Vula Viel’s sound may nod to Steve Reichian jazz, but influences don’t stop there: one can hear echoes of Bill Laswell and the irresistible energy of Arthur Russell.
PITCHFORK have previously called ZUMMO's trombone work “peerless” and have described his music as “the sound of sublimity…that sends shivers down the nervous system.” In an interview with THE QUIETUS, OPTIMO’s JD TWITCH characterised ZUMMO's playing as “sheer bliss.”
In addition to performing his own compositions and leading his own ensembles, ZUMMO has worked with myriad bands, orchestras, composers and musicians. His celebrated trombone style is recognized as one of the most beloved features of ARTHUR RUSSELL's sound, for whom he played and collaborated with in the recording studio. Among many others are PETER GORDON and his LOVE OF LIFE ORCHESTRA, drummer-producer TOM SKINNER (Hello Skinny), cellist-composer/producer OLIVER COATES, the LOUNGE LIZARDS, including the recording of TEO MACERO’s Fusion, which also featured the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Downtown Ensemble. He lives in New York City.