sun 09/08/2020

New Music Features

theartsdesk Q&A: Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan

joe Muggs

The story of Vashti Bunyan is a compelling one.

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First Person: From Insolence to Defiance

Paul Simmonds

Not that long ago, certainly when I was old enough to know better, I managed to get myself mugged by a gang of teenage street girls down by Lisbon docks. I had been following a long chain of beer and whisky glasses from the end of one bar to the front of the next and was quite drunk in that careless, carefree, foolhardy way.

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theartsdesk in Helsinki: Niubi Festival

Kieron Tyler

Tulegur Gangzi describes his music as “Mongolian grunge” and “nomad rock.” Thrashing at an acoustic guitar, the Inner-Mongolian troubadour is singing in the khomei style, the throat-singing which sounds part-gargle, drone and chant – or all three at once. His approach to the guitar is just as remarkable.

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theartsdesk in Budapest: Sziget to City

Tim Cumming

In Budapest, when your building turns a century old, you’re invited to be part of Budapest 100, a city-wide birthday celebration-cum-open-house invitation. It’s a direct way of experiencing the applied, lived-in artistry of the city, past and present.

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10 Questions for singer Laura Mvula

Russ Coffey

Laura Mvula, despite her exotic-sounding name, is a quintessentially British artist. Not just because of where she comes from – Birmingham – but also how she stays humble and understated while dripping with talent. Her story is equally endearing. Mvula was working as a receptionist when her debut, Sing to the Moon, was released.

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theartsdesk at the Port Eliot Festival

Mark Hudson

Remember when festivals were only about what they were ostensibly about? When, say, Reading offered nothing beyond hard rock bar disgusting toilets, overpriced hamburgers and the prospect of a punch-up. When literary festivals dealt only in, well, literature. Nowadays, the average music festival offers all the amenities of a small city, not just music, but shopping, comedy, ballet and every form of spiritual and bodily therapy.

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theartsdesk in the Faroes: Disco and Dried Fish

Kieron Tyler

“Tonight, in the Faroe Islands, we’re going to find the greatest dancer.” It’s not an exhortation which often rings out. It could even be a first time The Faroes have been invited to demonstrate their disco prowess. Sister Sledge are on stage and about to launch into their 1979 Chic-produced world-wide smash “He’s the Greatest Dancer”.

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theartsdesk at Latitude: Lily Allen/Haim

Isabella Gallagher

The only bad thing about Latitude is a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Some proper planning is advised - or a quick purchase of the Latitude App, if you're lucky enough to get reception over the weekend - to weigh up clashes and work out routes through the forest and up and down the undulating landscape of Henham Park, Suffolk.

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theartsdesk at Latitude: Damon Albarn/Booker T Jones

Matthew Wright

Booker T Jones seduced, his delivery a river of molasses, his beaming smile so suave it was difficult to believe he was, actually, singing the blues. Damon Albarn coaxed, like a well-meaning dad who’s taken his kids on a rainy picnic (a thunderstorm engulfed the end of his set) and wants them, in spite of everything, to have a good time. Lily Allen flounced and stropped; Kelis shook her booty, looking, in a gleaming golden dress, like a queen bee instructing the drones.

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theartsdesk in Fes: A world music festival that's a beacon of tolerance

Peter Culshaw

You are or maybe wish you were at Glastonbury this weekend. Not me. I last went six years ago and it’s just too big for me. And you need about four different passes to get backstage should you have a good or a bad reason to get there. Too bureaucratic. However, I was, as ever, more than glad to be at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, which is more human in scale, sociable and, at times, transcendent. This year was the 20th edition.

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