20 years after John Peel and Andy Kershaw first brought the
music of the Bhundu Boys to British radio listeners, their founder and guitarist
Rise Kagona plays a rare London show as part of John Peel Day.
Rise will be in London on October 13th, headlining an eclectic triple bill as
part of the ‘John Peel Day’ celebrations – The day will be a celebration of
John’s life and massive contribution to music and broadcasting with as many
venues as possible staging gigs across the UK under the banner of Peel Day.Peel – who famously broke down in tears the first time he saw the Bhundu Boys
live, such was the impact of their music on him – was a huge fan of the band,
and Rise credits Peel with a huge part in bringing the Zimbabwean band to a
European market. “John Peel did so much for us,” says Rise, “I’m so
happy to get to play as part of ‘John Peel Day’, to acknowledge that, to show my
Rise Kagona was the guitarist with and founder of The Bhundu Boys, arguable
Africa’s most influential musical export. In the mid to late 80s, they toured
extensively across the UK and Europe, opening for Madonna for three nights at
Wembley Arena, played with Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton and Joe Strummer
counted himself a fan.
“I first heard them when they put out an EP in the autumn of 1985,” Andy
Kershaw recalls. “Peel and I were in the office at Radio 1. We sat staring at
each other, thinking this recording was absolutely wonderful. It was the
dazzling quality of the music, the harmonies, the sparkling guitar playing. The
Bhundu Boys were simply one of the greatest pop groups I have ever heard.”
For this gig, Rise will be joined by long-time collaborator ‘Champion’ Doug
Veitch on guitar, Steve Lawson on bass, who Rise met recently while they were
both playing for Botswanan singer/songwriter Duncan Senyatso, Jez Carr on
keyboards and percussionist extraordinaire, Orphy Robinson.
Appearing alongside Rise will be the UK’s leading solo bassist Steve Lawson and
critically acclaimed Scottish singer/songwriter Calamateur – this promises
to be one of the highlights of John Peel Day.
Steve Lawson has spent the last five years building a reputation as the UK’s
leading solo bass guitarist. Avoiding the many pitfalls that so often trap
anyone taking the bass out of its natural band habitat, he uses real-time
looping to build soundscapes that combine gorgeous melodies with haunting
backdrops, blending ambient, jazz and electronica into a beguiling soundtrack to
a fantastic chilled night out. Though never played on John Peel’s show, Steve’s
teenage years, spent in Berwick On Tweed, were spent listening to Peel’s late
night radio 1 show religiously, taping all manner of weird and wonderful music
from the show to listen back to later, and discovering so many new acts that
otherwise would never have reached North Northumberland. That exposure to
‘boundary-less music’ set the scene for Steve’s musical career, and played a
huge part in him becoming a solo bassist in the first place.
Calamateur, AKA Andrew Howie, was another act that Peel gave a leg up to by
playing him on his Radio 1 show. Andrew has the knack of building songs from
apparently disparate parts; delicately picked acoustic, soft harmonies,
feedback, distortion, electronics, montages of samples, thunderous bass, rock
guitar, and found sound; which make sense as satisfying, haunting wholes. His
album, ‘The Old Fox Of ’45’ was recently voted one of the top 15 Scottish albums
of all time in a poll by ‘Is This Music?’ magazine. He’s been played extensively
on Radio 3’s Late Junction and is hailed in his homeland of Scotland as
something of a lofi singin’ songwritin’ genius. This will be his first London
The concert will be on Thursday Oct 13th, at Darbucka World Music Bar, 182 St
John’s Street, Clerkenwell, London, doors open 7.30pm, first band on at 8pm.
For tickets, go to http://www.stevelawson.net.