PUT ME °N IT was first invited to curate a stage at Soundwave Festival Croatia in 2010, which was a huge honour and pleasure. We returned for Soundwave 2012 with a bigger and better line up – in total there were 15 of us – for a beach party on the Saturday afternoon and a main stage session on the Sunday afternoon.
The beach party included DJ sets from ESKA who played a valiant and brilliantly eclectic set through technical turbulence, Ghostpoet whose was session so full of in your face heaters I can’t imagine what the hell he plays at night, and Eric Lau who took us on a musical journey from J Dilla to Jimi Hendrix. Tranqill hopped on the mic to host and the rest of the crew came out to dance and support. The beach stage at the new site is truly a site to behold; situated directly over the turquoise water, half the crowd is partying in the sea and the other half is in their swimwear dancing and sunning themselves in front of the DJ booth, splashing about in the shallows sipping smoothies, or chilling on the rocks underneath the shade of the pine trees.
The Sunday afternoon live session on the main stage was a very special moment for us. It takes a lot to attract the crowd away from the water down at the beach stage, but by the end of our session we’d managed to do just that. Szjerdene and her band started us off, her mellifluous tones stopping passers by in their tracks, glamorous long black dress and hair billowing in the wind. Tanya Auclair followed with her quirky yet catchy alt-pop and impressive one-woman band set up, flooring the audience as she artfully multi-tasked between uke, synth, percussion, looper and voice to create crunchy layers of juicy goodness. UK rapper/ producer Tranqill quite literally burst forth with his short and anything but sweet set of gritty tales that brought South London to the Dalmatian coast for an exciting, tension-filled minute. Tranqill’s set was hosted by regular collaborator, Washington DC’s rapper/producer extraordinaire Oddisee, who showed his experience and skill as a live artist, delivering a charismatic and passionate set of songs from his recently released debut album. Tawiah and her live band came next, and if there were any stragglers queueing for a beer before she took the mic, there were none afterwards as that incredible voice soared over the site and commanded their attention. For many people the highlight of the festival, Tawiah skanked, rocked and literally tore up the stage (her drummer The PSM jumped on top of the drum kit at one point, as the stage crew looked on in horror but couldn’t stop filming it on their camera phones). We finished with newcomer Anna Meredith, an accomplished classical composer whose new electronic material is easily some of the most exciting I’ve heard since I first stumbled across a young man named Steve Ellison six years ago, and whose performance elicited at least one marriage proposal. Eric Lau held the afternoon together DJing in between sets, and the stage crew somehow managed to stay calm despite my very ambitious programming. Video coming soon…
Remember when I got all excited about Tinashé a few years ago? Well around about the same time Island Records scooped up another talent of equal measure with a slew of great songs named Josephine Oniyama. Despite being the label who brought us artists like Bob Marley, Grace Jones and Baaba Maal, it seems that when Chris Blackwell left the company much of his vision, taste and flair for breaking artists who didn’t fit a pre-existing mould disappeared with him.
I first stumbled across Josephine’s brilliant and ridiculously catchy song A Freek A two years ago through Dom Servini, so I was very excited to discover that she has been working on an album with Ed Harcourt and Seb Rochford entitled “Portrait” due out on October 8th on Rubyworks/Ark Recordings. The new single “What A Day” is every bit as infectious as “A Freek A” and will be released on 20th August. I suggest watching the video below by way of brief introduction -
By rights the likes of Josephine and Tinashé (and many others you can find on this blog such as Tawiah, Tanya Auclair, Joshua Idehen, L.A. Salaami, Rahel, Ghostpoet and ESKA), are a new generation of homegrown singer-songwriters who probably grew up with The Smiths and Joni Mitchell as much as King Sunny Ade or Michael Jackson, as well as the artists Chris Blackwell worked with. The originality and richness of their music is the result, but so far it seems to be proving somewhat of a challenge for much of the industry to wrap their heads around (what some of us see as a no-brainer). Happily things change much faster now than ever before, and what with the quality of her voice and songwriting Josephine is undoubtedly about to make some serious headway. We will be supporting her with the very fibre of our beings.
Support: “What A Day” will be released on 20th August 2012.
It almost sounds like a memory I’ve created – Heidi Vogel singing the words Fontella Bass burned in to our souls ten years ago – as The Cinematic Orchestra flooded the Dalmatian sky at sunset with music that may have been created for just such a moment. We turned to each other, crying and singing and hugging, vowing to remember and to return.
Soundwave Festival in Croatia (there’s one of the same name in Australia I cannot vouch for unless you like Limp Bizkit and Marilyn Manson), has become something of an annual pilgrimage for the artists, DJs, labels and supporters who make up a chunk of the UK’s eclectic independent music scene. It is run by the same team behind Outlook Festival (Soundcrash and New Bohemia), so at first I was tentative about getting involved having heard horror stories of gurning 18 year olds tagging up an idyllic Croatian fishing village and peeing on the church a few years ago. Outlook has since moved to a more appropriate location in a disused fort, and Soundwave has emerged as a festival for lovers of live music.
I’m the kind of girl whose ideal festival involves being able to go home at night (after refusing to drink anything all day in a bid to avoid the toilets), food you can’t smell frying from the end of the three hundred strong queue, and preferably not staring at a giant screen watching “chart toppers” like Example (whose music I’ve still never heard), jumping about to a PA 10 miles away. I have been known to turn down free tickets to Glastonbury, and at the Guardian-readers-dream-fest Big Chill I camped in the middle of the sobbing and distraught Mika fan club as a security measure (they refused to leave their glitter encrusted tents for the entire festival because he didn’t show up).
Soundwave is definitely better than spending the day in a damp field. I arrived at the village at night and headed to the local restaurant to find my friends who were sitting outside tucking in to giant plates of fresh seafood. I’d heard it was a rocky beach so I was expecting Brighton, sewage and all. I woke up to a white hot, pond flat, turquoise clear scene from a movie. Even my friends who can’t swim were straight in the sea when they realised the rocks on the bottom were smooth (like an enormous tiled swimming pool).
The tiny festival site was 15 minutes walk around the bay and I won’t lie, it takes a moment to adjust to seeing people you usually see in Dalston wandering around swim wear casual (super awkward hello hugs on the first day). I asked the veterans for the guided tour of the site and it took 5 minutes; main stage, club, beach stage, all right next to each other. It was like I went on holiday with my friends to Croatia and my iTunes came to life and started performing (apart from Ja Rule, thank god).
When I got the call to put together another line up this year I was ecstatic. I called my artist friends and asked if they would like to go on holiday and get paid for it – luckily for me they said yes. We’re throwing a beach party on the Saturday afternoon, with Ghostpoet, Eric Lau and Eska DJing in the sunshine right by the sea. The next day we’ll be on the main stage in the afternoon, Tawiah with her amazing full live band, Tanya Auclair (and her amazing one man band), Szjerdene with a paired down intimate live set, Oddisee performing his debut album, Tranqill trying to deliver his gritty realism with an enormous sunshine induced grin on his face, and Anna Meredith – my wildcard – the first electronic musician I’ve been this excited about since I first saw Fly Lo at his first London show.
That’s just the PMOI parties, over 5 days there are over 50 acts. I’m particularly excited about seeing De La Soul, Fink, Eska, Dele Sosimi’s Fela tribute (the band probably need a whole plane to themselves), Kwes, Kutmah, and following Olugbenga from Metronomy around whispering “I love your band” then hiding. I might even venture on a boat party this year, though considering I got travel sick on a punt on the river in Cambridge last year it’s probably not a good idea. Those with sea legs claim the boat parties are the heart of Soundwave Festival, but I have the feeling this years most memorable moment will come when the whole site sings “Me, Myself and I” as the sun goes down.
FAQs Soundwave are probably not being asked but we are.
- There is no guestlist, flights will not be cheaper nearer the time, deciding in early July you want to come is not an option, the festival will be sold out. Book your travel (there are lots of options), tickets and accommodation as soon as you can – rooms in Tisno start at €15 – cheaper than a fancy tent.
- Croatian people are pretty cool with multicultural folk. We found them to be incredibly friendly and kind, maybe a little curious but not in a bad way. We cannot say the same about Poland.
- Plenty of Croatian people speak English (and probably loads of other European languages). Those that don’t speak the international language of point and shout.
- Do not bring drugs with you or buy them when you get there (that includes weed). Croatian people do not play, you will go to jail.
- The toilets at the festival are clean, but if you’re funny about hygiene your villa will probably be close enough to go back to.
- Bring mosquito repellant and bite cream – try to avoid too much sugar the week before you arrive to minimize your tastiness.
- The food is good if you like seafood, red meat or pizza (it’s opposite Italy). If you are vegetarian or vegan you may want to bring a few supplies or head to a supermarket on arrival.
- This is the last year Croatia will use the Kuna before joining the Euro which will means your money won’t go as far so make the most of it. It’s not super cheap but it’s definitely a lot cheaper than London. If you don’t drink budget £15 a day (if you do drink budget for alcohol and potentially having to get a new passport/ phone/ losing all your money etc).
- There is no need to bring heels, your most limited edition kicks or your best imported calf skin leather cape. You do need rubber flip flops for the beach (rocks), but you don’t need to hire a stylist, it’s not Field Day Festival.
You can find all the other info you need at soundwavecroatia.com – see you there.
The Dark End Of The Street – Aloe Blacc & The Grand Scheme
Break Bread (Dirty) – Asher Roth x Nottz
Think It Over (Exile Remix) – Bilal
KeepItGoing – Blu feat U-God
A Loan For The Lonely – DTMD
Come Over f. Sean Paul – Estelle & John Legend
Together Baby – Ghostface Killah
Freefire [produced by Kwes.] – Ghostpoet and DELS
Stylin’ Free – Hundred Strong ft. Amp Fiddler
Shape of Things to Come – Janelle Monae
The Announcement (feat. John F. Kennnedy) – Jay Electronica
That’s My Bitch – Kanye West & Jay-Z (Ft. Elly Jackson)
Get Some (Remix by Beck) – Lykke Li
Running – Mainey Wilson
Far Away – Marsha Ambrosius
Buzzcut (3:30 Edit) – Seiji
Done It Again – Space Invadas
Back It Up – Talib Kweli
Takin’ The Mick – Tor Cesay [Different Place Mixtape]
Still Sound – Toro Y Moi
Lookin For Love – Vikter Duplaix [For Players Only Mixtape]
Philly Shit (Remix) – Young Chris Ft. Eve, Meek Mill & Black Thought
This Is It Ft.yU (Prod. SlimKat 78)
ACOCD x 1 – Onra Ft T3
Agua Riddim – Seiji
Alphabet Soup – Raekwon
Back Home – Gold Panda
The Blooming – Oddisee
Computa Love – B.Bravo
The Day – The Roots Ft Blu, Phonte & Patty Crash
Dilla*Shine – J.Dilla Ft Robert Glasper & Zynzelay
Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Seu Jorge & Almanaz
Free – Bilal
General Patton – Big Boi
I’ll Kill Her – Cee Lo Ft Me & Lonan The Destroyer
Ihopeuknowimwatchingjune – Dâm Funk
In The Whirl Emote – Carlos Y Gaby
Is It? – Cee Lo
Large On The Streets – Vado
Lookin 4 Ya – Big Boi Ft Andre 3000 & Sleepy Brown
Malako (Live) – Samba Mapangala & Occidental Brothers
Morning – Ghostpoet Ft Micachu
Neva Get A Gyal Weh Mi Love So Much – Vybz Kartel
New York Is Killing Me – Gil Scott Heron Ft Mos Def
Ngoma Yakjo (Live) – Gregory Maqoma
Power – Kanye West Ft Dwele
Soon Come – Klashnekoff
Soperfect – Blu
Surprise Hotel (Live) – Fools Gold
There’s So Many – The Stuyvesants
Unbroken, Unshaven – The Budos Band
XXXO – M.I.A. Ft Jay Z
Yekermo Sew – Mulatu Astatke