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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:08 am
by MurkeyChris
I've just posted this on the fRoots board, but thought it would be interesting to give it an airing here and perhaps get another set of opinions. I hope it doesn't come across too much like compliment-fishing, it's more opinions on Bishi I'm interested in rather than interest in the article! (I'm also having an insomniac moment and killing time until my body finally decides it wants to sleep, hence the many postings!)

Well I hope this isn't too self-promoting, but when we were talking about tangents arising from articles in the mag I suggested it might be a good idea for authors to kick start some discussions based on the articles they had written. On the ground that if I don't take my own advice who else will, and now that my Root Salad on Bishi (fR306) my review of her album Nights at the Circus (fR305) have been published, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on it.


Has anyone heard her music and what do they make of it? For those who haven't: ... type=&aq=f

Doing the above YouTube search I just saw she's been on Jonathan Ross so maybe a lot more people have heard her than I thought!

I really like a lot of her music, but am aware that she is the kind of artist that might divide opinion. As I said in the review, I think he voice could be a big sticking point for some, and the album is patchy overall, but when it works it's really good. 'Nameste', the closer, is absolutely lovely.

One aspect that really intrigues me is her immension in English folk music from such a seemingly outsider background - whereas the majority of Britfolk musicians and fans come from white middle class families and grew up with the music, she's an Asian, classically trained sitar player and DJ in trendy East London who only got into it a few years ago! Her passion for it though was very obvious, and I hope it becomes a larger feature in her recorded output.

Although she's starting to get involved in a few folkey things like the Daughters of Albion concert, she's largely operating outside the established folk and world circles. That's something that's interesting me at the moment - how many people are doing what it says on the fRoots tin, making music rooted in tradition, but targetting their work to a different market. That's where the flexibility of the fRoots remit is good - it includes artists who don't subscribe to the 'folk' or 'world' tags and focusses on the music itself. I have my eye (and ear) on a really interesting Malawian singer working with a electronic duo who I'm keen to get an interview with. More to come hopefully... Any other recommendations?

Another thing I didn't have room to mention is her association with Patrick Wolf. He's one of these trendy new 'folk' musicians, in that he plays violin (viola?) occassionally but otherwise owes nowt to the tradition (beyond a live version of 'Black is the Colour'). I love his stuff mind, I saw him supporting Arcade Fire with a backing band on violin/viola, double bass, drums and laptop and it was very supurb. The kind of music I would like to play if I had any musical talent whatsoever. He's a great songwriter too, here's a handy little YouTube vid:


PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:40 am
by kas
Thanks for introducing her to us, Chris.

I was completely unaware of her work, but I like her less clubby Myspace tracks quite a lot. I don't want to stir anything up, but her fokier songs might be something the Imagined Village project was all about.

The French have a term for this kind of mixing different traditions together into a new entity: metissage, and in a country with many different and diverse elements it seems - to me anyway - quite a natural and inevitable thing to do.
From what I have seen and heard musicians themselves are much more open and ready to that than us punters / theorists / writers / other purveyors of genre awareness and good taste.

Then again, sitars and clubby beats has been turned into a bit of cliche, and many people can't bear them (you can count me in that group).
So it is nice to hear that all is based on some good, old fashioned songs.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:25 am
by Nick Boyes
I've liked what i have heard. She is appearing at the South Bank on Friday 2nd of january at 5.30 and its FREE.