As part of the UK-Russia Year of Music, the Afisha Picnic Festival hosted a Selector Live Showcase bringing together talented British and Russian musicians.
In the shade of trees by the river which evoke the serenity of English parks, it featured joint performances of Lafawndah and Kate NV, concerts by Benin City and Rosie Lowe, and improvisation by Total Refreshment Centre and Russian musicians.
Benin City is a London-based trio: singer and poet Joshua Idehen, soul vocalist Shanaz Dorsett and multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper. The band's most recent album, Last Night, was released in 2018 by London-based independent record label Moshi Moshi, which discovered Bloc Party and Hot Chip. Last Night is an ode to London’s nightlife, composed by musicians who refer to their personal clubbing experience and memories of cult places that no longer exist. Benin City organically mix afro-pop, indie rock, electro, hip-hop, and drum-n-bass, and are one of the most versatile bands in London.
Rosie Lowe made her first appearance in 2013 with the single Right Thing. Having heard her abstracted and sensual voice on this recording, super producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence and The Machine and others) invited her to his label Wolf Tone to join The Horrors and Glass Animals. Her debut album Control, produced by Dave Okumu from The Invisible, was a brilliant example of British neo-soul. After its release, Rosie was compared to Jessie Ware, James Blake, and even Annie Lennox. On her latest album, YU, released in May 2019, Rosie Lowe expanded her list of collaborators by working with rapper Jay Electronica and electronic experimenter Floating Points. The influential music website Pitchfork praised this album and predicted a promising future for her.
LAFAWNDAH AND KATE NV
The Selector Live Showcase also featured a joint project by London-based audio artist Lafawndah and Russian artist Kate Shilonosova (Kate NV).
Yasmin Dubois, known by the pseudonym Lafawndah, is of Iranian-Egyptian origins. She is now based in London but has traveled the world: she stayed in New York and Teheran, was inspired by salsa in Mexico City, studied art in Paris and music in Japan, recorded her zouk-styled EP in Guatemala, and took part in the Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo. In March 2019, Lafawndah released the album Ancestor Boy with the heroes of the new bass music Nick Weiss from Teengirl Fantasy and L-Vis 1990. In April the Barbican Centre presented the Ceremonial Blue project, a collaboration of Lafawndah and legendary Japanese percussionist Midori Takada, with great success.
Kate Shilonosova (Kate NV) is one of the most original and recognisable singers of the Russian indie scene, a member of the post-punk band Glintshake (now called ГШ) and an experimental artist with a successful international career. Her latest album, For For, is an unusual sound portrait of Moscow, released in 2018 via Brooklyn-based label RVNG Intl. and met with a bunch of rave reviews in foreign media. Last year, Kate Shilonosova presented the Decisive Pink project at the Sónar Festival in Barcelona – a collaboration with American artist Angel Deradoorian, inspired by Kandinsky's abstractions and the Krautrock band Can.
TOTAL REFRESHMENT CENTRE
The highlight of the Selector Live Showcase was improvised new British jazz performed by Total Refreshment Centre and young Russian musicians.
The creative association Total Refreshment Centre, which has given birth to all contemporary London jazz, was originally conceived as a social club: a place where local residents can hang out and spend time together. Very soon, TRC opened rehearsal facilities and recording studios, a stage, spaces for film screening, photo exhibitions and showcases. Young jazz musicians began to gather and play with each other, and it was here, in the Total Refreshment Studio, that the leading bands of today’s British jazz emerged: Sons of Kemet and The Comet Is Coming. What began in 2012 as a semi-squatting community of enthusiasts who invaded an empty building on the outskirts of London turned into a landmark event on the British scene in 2019, with a showcase at the Barbican Centre, supported by the Boiler Room.
At the Selector Live Showcase the Total Refreshment Centre was represented by poet and saxophonist Angus Fairbairn, who records spoken word and jazz albums under the nickname Alabaster dePlume, composer and saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael, and Capitol K. The latter is the name under which Kristian Craig Robinson works as a musician, producer, Faith & Industry label manager and one of the pioneers of the folktronica genre. He was previously signed to the record labels Planet Mu and XL Recordings and worked with The Comet is Coming, Ibibio Sound Machine and Patrick Wolf as a producer and sound engineer.
The Total Refreshment Centre musicians performed together with Russian artists. The collaboration is curated by Dmitry Ustinov and includes guitarist Maxim Makarychev and bass player Dima Midborn (On-The-Go), composer and popularizer of contemporary academic music, soloist of the Tchaikovsky Moscow Philharmonic Society Dmitry Vlasik, and Moscow-based musician Poko Cox.
Afisha Picnic Festival
Afisha Picnic is the largest open-air music festival in Moscow, attracting more than 60,000 people. The main stage will feature the legendary The Cure. The Royal Blood, Blossoms, SBPCh and Give Us a Tank (!) will also perform on the main stage. The Summer Stage traditionally showcases completely different styles, from rap to pop groove. It will feature Pusha-T, Mura Masa, Antokha MC with the Live Band, Kazuskom and Eighteen. A separate stage will be given to the Gazgolder Live festival. The creative association Gazgolder will curate it, bringing such artists as Basta, Gruppa Skryptonite, T-Fest, Matrang, Smokey Mo, Vadiara Blues, and Lucaveros. Besides music, Afisha Picnic offers an extensive gastronomic programme, a market, outdoor entertainment events, performances, contemporary art – and countless other ways to have a great time.
Our Selector Live programme is dedicated to showcasing the most exciting new British music. For several years, Selector Live has introduced contemporary British musicians and DJs to Russian audiences. The performers are chosen by the hosts of the Selector radio show, who broadcast their selections from London to an audience of over three million listeners in 40 countries around the world.
Actress x London Contemporary Orchestra, Matthew Herbert, Ben Khan, King Midas Sound, Dean Blunt and Plaid are just some of the artists who have performed at Selector Live events over the past years.