London International Festival of Exploratory Music Opens in November 2009

lifem_2009Kings Place will play host to innovative musicians from around the world in November 2009. The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music (LIFEM) will take place November 4-7 of 2009. The festival unites the myspace generation of musical explorers from the four corners of the globe. Produced by Red Orange and presented in the perfect acoustics of Kings Place, LIFEM has exploited the incredible potential of the world-wide-web to seek the most exciting finds from the far East, the middle East, the Arctic Circle, south America and East and West Europe. LIFEM shows just what the internet can do for world music.

LIFEM has curated evenings which bring together a selection of artists from shared continents to reveal the commonality and differences between them. The Festival opens with a look at the UK and a night of classically influenced ‘minimalist avant chamber pop’. Jenni Roditi has garnered rave reviews of her passionate and absorbing work. Unbound by traditional limits, she explores her voice’s potential to create captivating performances. Andrew Poppy is renowned for his minimalist electro and compositions for opera, orchestra, films and contemporary dance. Sometimes compared to Cabaret Voltaire and Philip Glass, this concert sees Poppy performing on piano and his own downtempo electronics.

Songs and singers from the Arctic Circle brings together two Inuk singers; Goldfrapp-like Nive Nielsen from Greenland and guttural throat-singer Tanya Tagaq. Nive has emerged from the stark isolation of the Greenland geography with an originality and of-the-moment sound created by her stunning voice and little red ukulele. Her debut album is being produced by PJ Harvey’s musical partner John Parish and promises great things.

Tanya Tagaq has appeared several times in the UK, each visit bringing exciting new developments in her sound. Worldwide her extraordinary voice and quirky manner has led to collaborations with Björk, Kronos Quartet and Mike Patton. She learnt the rhythmic throat singing of the women Inuk as a child, but through evolving relationships with new collaborators, she continues to explore the sonic potential of her powerful voice. Tagaq’s recordings include Auk and Sinaa.

The Old and New worlds touch on Friday 6 November. Opening with the raw intensity of sean-nós singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna. This young singer makes his first appearance outside Ireland, bringing with him the ancient language of sean-nós and its songs of lament and hardship. His most recent recording is Rogaire Dubh.

Formed by three members of the group Melike, Tri a Tolia brings together Turkish voice, an Iraqi qanun (lap-harp) and a Belgian cello to create spellbinding music that defies easy categorisation. Their debut album Zumurrude received critical acclaim and attracted an international fan base, with this UK debut their live shows should go the same way. Lonely China Day break out of the clichés of Chinese music (traditional, plastic pop or tacky karaoke) and bring to London a taste of China’s growing experimental rock scene. Lonely China Day’s recordings: Sorrow.

Running between these, Hall 2 presents three dancefloor fillers from Brazil, where the well-loved rhythms of samba have mutated via musical technology to create exotic electronica. With a powerful political message are Coletivo Rádio Cipó community activists, and their music fuses Brazilian styles funk de morro, samba, pontos de terreiros, carimbó and batucada with hip hop, dub and electro beats.

Madame Mim brings it bang up to date with dirty, DIY electro pop with more than her slashed neon t-shirts in common with German electro-trash. Closing the sweaty non-stop dancing is Da Cruz and her clash of bossa, indie-rock, electro, samba, dubstep and jazz. Selected to perform at LIFEM earlier this year, Da Cruz has just been announced on the Womex 09 programme.

Through three different artists, the plaintive sound of Jewish music from different countries is captured in the form of Yiddish, Sephardic and Klezmer. Mabrouk Band from Israel, Shira U’Tfila from Serbia and Cukunft from Poland perform their UK debuts. Mabrouk Band is almost a folk version of Barenboim’s West East Divan Orchestra, a melting pot that makes a virtue out of the different people and cultures of Israel.

Led by singer and oud player Asher Alkalay, Shira U’Tfila explore the richness of Sephardic music from the Balkan, Judeo-Spanish and Arabic traditions.

With an intriguing line up of clarinet, bass clarinet, electric guitar and drums, Polish improvisers and musicologists, Cukunft take the traditional music of 19th and early 20th century Poland and re-invent it for the 21st.

A classically trained pianist, Midori Hirano had engaged the industry’s curiosity well before the EP release Poet at the Piano and European tour in 2004. Organic layers of piano, strings and electronic sampling create delicate, transparent sound poems.


Oorutaichi contrasts sharply with Midori’s wistfulness, producing upfront technicolor songs influenced by Tyrannosaurus Rex, Aphex Twin and Dancehall Reggae. The founder of Okimi Records, Oorutaichi’s other projects include dancehall / broken toy music duo Obakejaa (with DJ Shabu Shabu) and Urichipangoon, a 4 piece progressive folk band featuring ex-Boredoms drummer Muneomi Senju.

The brilliantly monikered DJ Scotch Egg brings LIFEM to a close with his surreal set of performance DJing. Armed only with a megaphone, four Nintendo Game Boys and a mixer, his gabber and breaknoise tracks are brought to a close with the hurling of scotch eggs into the crowd. recordings: Drifting My Folklore, Klo: Yuri.

Alongside this whirlwind tour of global music, LIFEM also presents a free program of award-winning short films making their UK debut.

More at

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *