8 years ago
Tonight’s Songwriters Circle is the perfect blend of about to break, and proven class. 100% of all ticket money goes to the acts, as ever, thanks to the support of Collage Arts. The February night was nothing short of magical, so you don’t want to miss this one. All three artists on stage all night, talking together about their music, where the songs came from, how they ended up doing what they do, and the odd crazy tour story…!
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm.
Tube – Wood Green on Piccadilly Line (4-5 min walk)
Overground – Alexandra Palace (4-5 min walk, only 10 mins from Highbury & Islington, 15 mins from Old St, Essex Rd etc)
/// TICKETS HERE – £4 adv ///
So, in no particular order, we have:
/// Dennis Bovell ///
Dennis Bovell has earned himself the reputation of being Britain’s reggae maestro, from pioneering early developments in the genre over 40 years ago to producing classic hits. The man who gave the world Lovers Rock – still furiously collaborating after four decades in the business – with modern greats like Amy Winehouse, and most recently with Arcade Fire and Joss Stone, Dennis had more than a few records he’s produced in the Island Records all time top 50 – most notably The Slits. His band Matumbi were to become Britain’s premier reggae band at a time when the genre was spreading from Jamaica to a wider international audience. After Tonight, the band’s first hit, is to this day played on continuous rewind in the Revival Hall of Fame and another single, The Man In Me is regarded as a British reggae classic. In 1979 Matumbi reached the UK Top Ten charts with Point of View . Altogether the band made four albums for EMI.
He produced Janet Kay’s huge hit Silly Games, which reached number two in the UK charts in 1979 and opened his own recording facility Studio 80. Bovell also formed the Dub Band, beginning an enduring partnership with reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson which has resulted in classic albums including Forces of Victory (1979), Bass Culture (1980), Tings An’ Times (1991) and LKJ in Dub: Volumes One and Two (1981, 1992). It has also meant tours around the world playing to audiences from South Africa to Sweden, from Japan to Germany.
The 1980s saw Bovell in great demand as a producer, working with bands as diverse as The Slits, Chalice, The Thompson Twins and Bananarama. He re-mixed albums for the great Marvin Gaye as well as Wet Wet Wet and The Boomtown Rats and worked closely with Nigerian Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Other great artists that Bovell has worked with include Alpha Blondy, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Edwyn Collins and Pablo Moses. Throughout this period Bovell continued his career as a solo artist, releasing a number of albums: A Who Seh Go Deh; Leggo A Fi We Dis; I Wah Dub; Higher Ranking Scientific Dub; Yu Learn; Strictly Dubwise, Brain Damage and Audio Active. In January 2011 he presented and performed on the acclaimed BBC series and live show ‘Reggae Britannia’. he wrote songs and produced young London Reggae band, General Roots, mixed Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (featuring Shakira and Rihanna), and Dub mixes for Arcade Fire, Tamikrest, Samba Toure, The Stone Foundation, Sade and Hobbyist and many others. He is also writing songs for artists such as Joss Stone and Hot Chocolate. Dennis is a versatile and open minded music man who refuses to adhere to any specific genre although reggae and dub are closest to his heart.
/// Michele Stodart ///
Michele Stodart is a solo artist as well as bassist, vocalist and co-songwriter with the much-loved, Mercury-Prize-nominated and double platinum sellers The Magic Numbers. The band recently released their fourth studio album, Alias, in 2014 with several critics calling it their finest to date, receiving **** in Q and Uncut. Over the summer of 2014-15, The Magic Numbers supported Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Super Furry Animals and Train on their recent arena tour.
In 2012, Michele released an album of her own songs, Wide-Eyed Crossing, a southern-drenched journey into Americana country blues. In support of the record, Michele and her band toured with Villagers, Duke Special, Slow Club and Ben Ottewell of Gomez. She is currently touring with the Magic Numbers and working on a follow-up solo album to be released later this year. She is also one of the most fun people you are ever likely to meet – can’t wait to have her chatting away about her songs.
/// Samantha Whates ///
Samantha Whates is one of those rare artists that ignites little bonfires beneath your ribcage and sings you something about yourself while the fire burns. A voice so warm and pure you’d be forgiven for thinking you were out in the wind wrapped up in merino wool and drowning in chocolate. For fans of acts like First Aid Kit, Nina Nastasia, Laura Viers and Susanna And The Magical Orchestra, Samantha is a lost piece of the jigsaw. She writes songs in a way that is precisely hers: Musically moving where she wants to go whenever she feels like it, and sometimes never coming back; while all the time lyrically drawing you a map and walking along beside you through her story. The much lauded Dark Nights Make For Brighter Days album, which she recorded live in a couple of days up in her native Scotland, is a sparkling, atmospheric, and emotionally brave record that drew nothing but praise from exactly the kind of people she’d want it from on BBC radio. Crucially, Samantha is one of those artists that also enjoys the endorsement of her peers – a real favourite on the live circuit. James Yorktson (a Mercury Music Prize nominee) described her as “a lovely surprise, her presence and songs made my evening, she’s a rare treat…”
Live, she has that knack of tying a squadron of helium balloons to the more serious songs by being so irrepressible and likeable in the moments between them. You won’t be the first to leave the show feeling like you just met your new best friend. The voice of the Barclays Premier League YouAreFootball TV and online advertising campaign – winning Best Bespoke Music in Advertising at the 2013 Shots Awards, her recent Trees & Gold/Icicle EP enjoyed extensive play on 6Music from the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Gideon Coe and Tom Robinson, as well as longstanding support from Bob Harris on Radio 2. Two New EP’s on the horizon, it’ll be a big year for an artist we’re incredibly proud to work for.
“…really, the most beautiful album…” – Bob Harris, Radio 2
“… just gorgeous…” – Tom Robinson – BBC 6 Music