WEST HOLTS ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES - CLICK HERE FOR FULL STAGE TIMINGS
CLASSICA ORCHESTRA AFROBEAT
Continuing our tradition of opening the festival with a large band, may we introduce Classica Orchestra Afrobeat, an Italian ensemble that interprets the legacy of the late, great Fela Kuti. Fifteen years after his passing, Kuti lives on through this 11-piece chamber orchestra of classical and jazz musicians, whose album ‘Shine On You – Fela Goes Classical’ takes his music in a completely new direction. Strings, horns, woodwind, guitars and percussion … who knew it could sound like this?
They say: “Classica Orchestra Afrobeat blends authentic 1960s Western African polyrhythms and chants with American funk and jazz created by Fela, with Western classical music. Baroque resonances, original and colourful arrangements enhance the rhythm section.” World Music Network
We say: See you at the front for the most joyous way to kick off the festival!
ZUN ZUN EGUI
This Bristol four-piece by way of Japan and Mauritius specialize, according to a recent BBC review, in mildly demented percussive furiousness, losing themselves in free-range rock music that is unselfconscious and exhilarating. They sing in English French, Creole, Japanese and made-up languages, saying their music is more about the feel than the message. Shades of Gang of Four, Roy Harper and the Red Hot Chili Peppers compete with Talking Heads and Muse, shaken up with African beats. It’s entirely possible Zun Zun Egui go where no band has gone before.
They say: “Onstage and at their best, ZZE combine the fury and speedy neurosis of a metal band with a sense of contagious fun.” The Arts Desk
We say: Don’t even attempt to learn the lyrics, get dancing instead.
Fasten your seatbelts; you’re in for a magical mystery tour. These Swedish voodoo-freaks mash up a kaleidoscope of Afrobeat, Latin disco, post punk, rampant acid rock and kraut drone to create a riot of rhythm and psychedelic noise. They named their new album ‘World Music’ because, they say, they were brought up to have an understanding not only of Western music but from other parts of the world, too. Not only do they sound arresting; they look it, too, performing in mysterious masks. Why? “We think the music sounds better without connections to individuals, so we are connected to listeners by the music,” they told music site theQuietus.com. “The important thing is what you do, not who does it.”
They say: “These Swedish space cadets sound like a Womad wig-out involving Faust, Funkadelic, Fairport Convention and Fela Kuti.” The Guardian
We say: Truly weird but undeniably wonderful, Goat’s rarely seen live shows are intense, theatrical and unforgettable.
She’s been called a force of nature, a singer who demands attention, the purveyor of some of the most arresting blues soul since the glory days of Aretha, and we are delighted to welcome her back to Glastonbury. She’s earned her stripes with five solo albums, gigs that have taken her to the corners of the globe and collaborations with a long list of musicians that include David Byrne, Roy Ayers, Quantic and Mr Scruff. As for her music: whether it’s dubstep, old school soul, or hints of Kate Bush, Bach, Arvo Part and Chaka Khan, Russell wears her influences on her sleeve and it’s exhilarating, as you’re about to experience for yourselves.
She says: “You feel better when you’ve had a good sing-song. They should put singing on the NHS.”
We say: With a catalogue of killer tunes and a personality big enough to fill the field, this girl’s got soul in spades.
TORO Y MOI
Chazwick Bradley Bundick (better known by his stage name Toro y Moi) is a 26-year old recording artist and producer hailing from South Carolina. He’ll take you on a musical journey that visits R’n’B and funk, sun-bleached electro, chillwave and beyond. Named among the 30 ‘must see’ artists at this year’s South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, Bundick is a prolific composer, in addition using side projects Les Sins and Sides of Chaz as outputs for his dance and stream of consciousness recordings. He describes his new album Anything In Return, released at the beginning of this year, as having “a 90s dance mix sound”.
They say: “One of the most buzzed-about indie acts in the blogosphere.” Rolling Stone
We say: A sell-out on his current US tour, Bundick is no longer a best-kept secret. File him under your new best favourite.
TOM TOM CLUB
Formed in 1981 by husband and wife team Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth as an offshoot from Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club was instrumental in tilting mainstream attention towards hip hop. Who can forget the sublime groove of their first single, ‘Wordy Rappinghood’ – a funky backbone overlaid with playground rap and eerie electro keyboards that topped the charts in 17 countries? Sampled by the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Black Eyed Peas, LL Cool J, Puffy Daddy (as was), and more recently Chicks on Speed, Tom Tom Club’s influence reaches far and wide.
They say: “We always thought Talking Heads was the mothership and that we would continue. Who knew that, 30 years later, Tom Tom Club would still be going and Talking Heads not?” Chris Franz
We say: After a 12-year hiatus Chris and Tina released the critically acclaimed EP Downtown Rockers last autumn and have hit the road with a zest that’s as vibrant and energetic as their music. We’re delighted to have them back.
If you like American twelve-bar Blues, then it’s impossible not to love Seasick Steve. Making his UK debut in 2006 on Jools Holland’s New Year Hootenanny, in an instant the former hobo and busker swapped obscurity for the spotlight, saying "I can't believe it, all of the sudden I'm like the cat's meow!" He has a fondness for customised guitars, one of which – made from two hubcaps and a garden hoe – inspired the name of his new album Hubcap Music. Steve promises to deliver a killer performance on Friday night, joined by Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones, who also played on the album.
They say: ‘You wouldn’t know it from his scraggly beard and hubcap guitar… but he has star power.’ London Standard
We say: Seasick Steve’s foot-stompin’ blues will transport you from a Somerset field to the American plains.
Thirty-seven years after he co-founded Chic, Nile Rodgers is still carrying the torch for funk, sprinkling his magic dust most recently on Daft Punk’s summer smash Get Lucky. As a producer he’s worked with everybody from David Bowie to Debbie Harry, Madonna to Mick Jagger, but it’s thanks to the enduring infectious refrains of hits such as Everybody Dance, Le Freak and Good Times that makes this one act you simply cannot afford to miss.
They say: ‘The party gig of the year.’ The Guardian
We say: With feelgood hits everyone knows and loves, good times are guaranteed on Friday night.
Consisting of Samo Gonzalez, Frankie Seas, Gil Cervantes, Christian Jimenez, “The Shark” Santillanes and DJ Zero, Troker hail from Guadalajara, Mexico. Having performed at everywhere from Jazz in the Park in Colombia to the Kennedy Centre in Washington, Troker are worthy of their worldwide attention and place at Glastonbury. They began with roots in rock music, but found an answer to their expressive and creative necessities through jazz. Troker combine funk, jazz, rock and even cumbia to produce an unbridled and continuous surge of energy on stage. Unafraid to experiment, Troker has demonstrated that jazz music can be part of the mainstream can be part of the mainstream.
They say: “Loud, expressive, all together wonderful.” All About Jazz
We say: Leave your stereotypes at the door and prepare to be amazed.
Fatoumata Diawara is a Malian-born musician currently living in France, moving there originally to pursue acting, appearing in series of French films in the late 90s and early 2000s. She later took up the guitar and began composing her own material, writing songs that blend Wassalou traditions of Southern Mali with international influences.
Diawara’s debut album ‘Fatou’ was released in September 2011. On the album Diawara showcases her distinctive melodic voice, singing her own songs in her native Bambara tongue with themes as serious as personal betrayal, the effect of wars in Africa and the plight of illegal African migrants in Europe. In addition to accompanying her own voice on simple acoustic guitar, traditional western rock guitars, bass and drums are heard alongside West African instruments like the kori, calabash and ngoni. The result gives the album a distinctive worldly sound.
They say: “Something of a revelation.” The Guardian
We say: Actor turned musician with sensuous, sophisticated and stylish sounds
THE BOMBAY ROYALE
The magic and mayhem of vintage Bollywood collides with Tarantino-esque surf, wild disco, flamboyant theatrics, swirls of kaleidoscopic colour, outrageous costumes and utterly irresistible dance moves. Surely, The Bombay Royale have to be one of the most intriguing bands to emerge from the Melbourne music scene. Brandishing a rare new sound that is exotic, teasing, cinematic and utterly exhilarating, the Royale’s mash-up of intoxicating rhythms, seductive lyrics (in Hindi, Bengali and English) and fantastic – bordering on surreal – performances are always a wonder to behold. Their debut album ‘You Me Bullets Love’ was released in May 2012 and has won wide acclaim, including a place in iTunes Best of 2012 and number one on the iTunes World Music charts.
They say: “A riot of sounds and textures but absolutely great fun to have on at full blast ...joyous.” Pop Matters
We say: Time to pretend you’re in a Quentin Tarrantino film; lose your inhibitions and just dance.
Badbadnotgood, or BBNG to their friends, are a jazz outfit who specialise in unusual covers, of everyone from Joy Division and Odd Future.
Recognition came fast through YouTube because of their quasi-viral video of a smoothed out jazz medley of ‘Odd Future’ and ‘Tyler’, and has made BBNG somewhat of a cult hit. A three-piece group formed of Matthew Tavares, Alexander Sowinski, and Chester Hansen, they are all under the age of 23 and despite the fact their drummer always wears a pig mask, Sputnik music describes BBNG as having an “almost post-modern, Sinatra-like swagger”.
BadBadNotGood released their second album, ‘BBNG2’, in April 2012. The album has original material as well as covers of songs by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake and Feist.
They say: "A welcome reinterpretation of modern jazz without the pretence of snotty wine parties and thick-rimmed hipster dinosaurs." Sputnik Music.
We say: Jazz covers of hip hop artists is vintage West Holts.
THE ORB FEATURING KAKATSITSI
Founded in 1988 by Alex Paterson and KLF memberJimmy Cauty, The Orb enjoyed critical and commercial success in the 1990s with the albums ‘The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld’ and ‘U.F.Orb’, the latter of which topped the British album charts in 1992. This success led to its infamous appearance on Top of the Pops, where the group showcased its quirky style by playing chess while the group's single ‘Blue Room’ ran in the background. While the Orb’s line up has changed over the years, Alex Paterson has remained and he prides the Orb on manipulating samples on its albums and during its concerts. As such, the Orb have been a prolific remixing team working with Depeche Mode, Lisa Stansfield and Front 242. At West Holts, the Orb are joined by Kakatsitsi, master drummers from the Ga tribe of Southern Ghana. Kakatsitsi have established themselves as the leading African traditional group in the UK and will join the Orb for a debut live performance.
They say: “The imaginative and the inspirational.” The Independent
We Say: Kakatsitsi is the Ga word for “self-energisation”. Add in the Orb too and it might just overload your senses.
Michael Stafford, the Anglo-Irish singer songwriter better known as Maverick Sabre has a unique and soulful voice. On his 2012 debut album ‘Lonely are the Brave’, Stafford has been told his singing voice sounds almost Jamaican. He says it’s down to his Irish accent but either way, tracks like “I Need” and “Cold Game” definitely have a reggae flavour. At a recent gig at the Roundhouse in Camden a reviewer from the Independent described Stafford as “part of a new wave of artists who are on a much more equal footing with their fan base... he seems like a genuinely decent bloke”. Maverick Sabre has already collaborated with Professor Green, drum and bass duo Chas & Status, toured with The Script and performed on the BBC’s Later With Jools Holland.
They say: “Explosive singing power...delivered with untrammelled intensity.” Daily Telegraph
We say: a fantastic blend, of hip-hop, soul and reggae delivered by a unique voice.
Founded by DJ Diplo and Switch, Major Lazer delivered vibrant, infectious and hedonistic sounds of contemporary reggae and dancehall with their 2009 debut album ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do’. Since DJ Switch’s departure, Diplo has forged ahead at the helm of Major Lazer to create full-blown performance spectacles which have become must-see shows on the summer festival circuit. As well as writing albums and performing, Major Lazer also partly produced Rita Ora’s album ‘Ora’ and No Doubt’s sixth album ‘Push and Shove’.
Major Lazer’s latest Album realised in June 2013, ‘Free the Universe’ delivers similarly explosive sounds. Expect that DJ Diplo will turn the West Holts Stage into a joyful, fun and energetic house party.
They say: “In terms of audience connection, they're something of an unstoppable force.” The Guardian
We say: One of the biggest dance acts on the planet, let’s hope you can keep up.
Formed in Long Island, New York in 1982, Public Enemy are celebrating their 25th anniversary. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked them 44th in their list of Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and in 2013 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Public Enemy’s socially and culturally conscious rhymes made them pioneers of hip-hop. In the late 80s and 90s they enjoyed international success with their first four albums going gold or platinum with massive songs like ‘Fight the Power’ and “Don’t Believe the Hype’. Their influence on music is undeniable and 20 years later they’re still bringing the hits. In 2012 they scored a top five hit in the UK with ‘Harder Than You Think’.
They say: “Boasting the best baritone in hip-hop, Chuck D's forceful flow is utterly compelling... Teamed with the clock-wielding, Brigitte Neilson-courting whirlwind of rampant energy that is Flava Flav... you have a tag team made in hip-hop heaven.” The Guardian
We say: Politically charged lyrics delivered by living legends. Public Enemy are hip-hop royalty.
They may sound like they come from the New Orleans swampland but this nine-piece combo hail from Manchester and Amsterdam. A free-floating ensemble that sometimes has as many as 15 musicians onstage, trumpeter Nick Walters and drummer Steve Pycroft form its nucleus. Expect a mash up of peace loving’ aggro jazz, hip hop samples funked up favourites and swirling drum and bass dancefloor.
They say: “This jazz combo packs a hefty punch.” The Guardian
We say: Get ready for a riotous start to the day.
MATTHEW E WHITE
If ever there was a reluctant star, Matthew E White is it. A former session musician producer and arranger, last year he made an album to showcase his own record label, Spacebomb, recording studio and house band consisting of a rhythm section, horns, strings and choir. That LP, Big Inner, won him a raft of accolades including Breakthrough Artist of 2012, Best Act of Rookie of the Year. Big Inner was picked up by Domino Records and released worldwide at the beginning of 2013 and his blend of soul, Americana, gospel and folk have been wowing audiences on the tour circuit worldwide.
They say: “Each riff, lick, melody and harmony is pitched for maximum effect from minimum bluster, an exquisite exercise in quiet storm economy.” Uncut
We say: If you like Randy Newman, Lambchop and Allen Toussaint, you’ll love Matthew E White.
Dub Colossus was born when Nick ‘Dubulah’ Page visited Addis Ababa and was blown away by the local music scene. A founding member of Transglobal Underground and later Temple of Sound, Page got to work on his latest project, embracing 60s Ethiopian pop, dub, reggae, ethiojazz and azmari (a traditional Ethiopian singing tradition, similar to a European bard or a West African griot). Dub Colossus have made three critically acclaimed albums since 2008, their latest – ‘Dub Me Tender Vol I & 2’ – being released last year.
They say: “Thick, ropey bass and drum rhythms, flashes of neatly worked brass, ear-catching percussion and otherworldly organ lines and electronics demand that the listener surrender and ride the musical journey.” – World Music Central
We say: Prepare to be whipped up into a skanking storm.
They have worked with practically every reggae legend in the book: Lee Scratch Perry, Gregory Isaacs, Sly and Robbie, Horace Andy, Max Romeo … the list goes on and on. Ashanti Roy Johnson and Cedric Myton formed The Congos as a duo in the mid-Seventies, but producer Lee Scratch Perry decided they needed to beef up their sound and Watty Burnett was added to the line-up. Their debut album, ‘Heart of the Congos’, still features regularly on ‘best of’ lists, and their song ‘Fisherman’ is considered an absolute classic. After a tempestuous career of break ups, make ups and different line-ups, the original trio reunited with Perry in 2009 to record 'Back in the Black Ark'.
They say: “The Congos are the ultimate roots reggae statement.” BBC review
We say: The Congos are the real deal – enjoy!
Sergio Mendes is one of music's most remarkable figures. The Brazilian master of both jazz piano and Fender Rhodes organ has spent his lifetime popularising Brazilian samba and interpreting well know pop hits as jazzy, bossa nova numbers. Mendes has produced over 55 releases from a career spanning five decades. In the late-1960s and early-1970s he sold huge numbers of records internationally: there was a lush, exotic quality to Mendes’ music that made it popular in bars and clubs. The 1990s also found both a growing interest in Brazilian music and in the easy listening music of the 1960s, this led to new audiences discovering Mendes’ music. So much so that Will.I.Am co-produced Sergio's 2006 album 'Timeless'. In 2012, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2012 as co-writer of the song "Real In Rio" from the animated film Rio.
They say: “Sergio Mendes is legendary.” Contact Music
We say: Quite simply the most successful Brazilian artist of all time.
Colombian musician, Mario Galeano (the force behind the band Frente Cumbiero) and English producer Will Holland (best known for funk projects under the name Quantic) have joined forces to create the Ondatropica project. Ondatropica exists to explore and expand the tropical sound of Colombia in its rawest form and to marry it with contemporary influences from around the world. To record their album of the same name, they assembled a 42-strong cast including the celebrated percussionist Fruko, veteran pianist Juancho Vargas and young hip-hop stars. Age was clearly no barrier. Ondatropica delivered an album that fuses traditional Colombian styles such as cumbia, gaita, champeta with boogaloo, ska, beat-box, MCs, dub, funk and creates a progressive collection of 26 tracks that re-interpret the tropical musical heritage of Colombia.
They say: “A supergroup of Colombian musicians young and old.” The Guardian
We say: They’ll make visitors to West Holts feel like they’re in a nightclub in Bogota.
LIANNE LA HAVAS
La Havas was born in London to a Greek father and Jamaican mother. Inspired by Lauren Hill and Nina Simone, she wrote her first song at the age of 11 but did not learn to play the guitar until she was 18 years old. At 18, while attending sixth-form in Croydon, a friend of La Havas’, (who attended the Brit School) introduced her to other musicians who assisted her in the recording of her first demos. Through that same friend, La Havas was introduced to British singer Paloma Faith and later sang backing vocals on Faith’s tour. In 2010, Lianne signed to Warner Bros. Records, spending two years developing her songwriting skills before releasing music publicly.
La Havas made her television debut on October 21, 2011, on Later With Jools Holland. Her music is soul driven and melodic. In 2012, Her debut album “Is Your Love Big Enough?” was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and won iTunes album of the year.
They say: “A clear, pure voice and a similarly irresistible genuine quality that makes you want to buy her album as well as befriend her.” The Washington Post
We say: Prince and Stevie Wonder are fans of La Havas – you wouldn’t want to disagree with them, would you?
Bobby Womack has pretty much seen and done it all. In a career spanning over 50 years, he has emerged as one of soul music's true greats. Able to shine as a singer or instrumentalist and songwriter, through the 60s and 70s, Womack was a consistent hit maker on the R&B charts. His records were quintessential soul, with influences from the likes of Sam Cooke (Womack was Cooke’s protégé), Wilson Pickett and Sly Stone, all of whom Womack worked closely with at one time or another. An underrated guitarist, he helped pioneer a lean, minimalist approach similar to that of Curtis Mayfield, and was an early influence on the young Jimi Hendrix. His songs have been recorded by numerous artists in the realms of both R&B and rock, and the best of them rank as all-time classics. In 2009, Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As the sign true sign of a living legend, and after a ten-year break from making a solo record, Womack returned in 2012 with the critically acclaimed album ‘The Bravest Man in the Universe’ which was produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell. An album that Womack described as “the best thing I’ve ever done”.
They say: “Bobby is a precious thing.” Damon Albarn
We say: Womack gave the Rolling Stones their first number one hit. We think that says it all.