In the words of Bab L’Bluz frontwoman Yousra Mansour: “More than anything, we’re a rock band.” Instead of guitar and bass, however, the Moroccan/French quartet wield the guembri, a traditional three-stringed lute, while their musical roots lie in the trance-like grooves of Gnawa music, a centuries-old amalgam of ancestral West African traditions with Arab-Muslim and native Berber influences. Staking their own arresting claim on Africa’s map of reclaimed original blues, their fearlessly freewheeling yet tautly focused debut album, 2020’s Nayda!, draws on a global stylistic melting-pot, from US psychedelia to Indian sitar riffs, down’n’dirty funk to classical Arabic poetry.
“A thrilling manifesto of expansive musical invention” (Songlines)
Irish singer and guitarist Síomha (pronounced She-vah) dances the line between folk, jazz and neo-soul effortlessly taking audiences on an unexpected and unforgettable journey with her soulful melodies. Her debut album Infinite Space is a collection of songs in both Irish and English and is set for release in 2022. A kind of cosmic, folk-informed, jazz-tinged, post-pop - it was produced by Grammy-nominated Tyler Duncan and features an all-star lineup of musicians including Joe Dart (Vulfpeck), Louis Cato (Bobby McFerrin/ Snarky Puppy) and violinist Jeremy Kittel (Bela Fleck/ Chris Thile).