Anoushka Shankar is one of the world’s great sitar players and the only artist to be trained solely by her father, the unsurpassed Ravi Shankar.

Anoushka Shankar has not only blossomed as a great sitar player but also as a composer in her own right producing great new music that is rooted in the Indian classical tradition but also boldly explores musical connections and fusions in a unique and thoroughly engaging way.

Following her acclaimed CDs ‘Rise’ (nominated for a Grammy) and ‘Breathing Under Water’, this project carries forward to a new generation the sense of exciting and open-eared musical exploration that has marked both their careers.

Anoushka Shankar Website

After nearly 20 years of raging against oppression and injustice, it is sometimes easy to forget that this multi‐cultural British crew are also one of the most musically inventive, explosively exciting live bands on the planet. Now, their strongest line up yet combines their trademark fusion of punk rock,electronic beats, reggae, bhangra and hip‐hop that has attracted many famous
fans, from Primal Scream to Radiohead, Sinead O’Connor to Chuck D, all former touring partners and studio collaborators.

Over the years, this ever‐evolving band have continued to expand their agenda, delivering live soundtracks to film and tackling operas, while taking their fiery mix of music and social activism to
far‐flung places where conventional western rock bands rarely tour: Morocco, India, Cuba and the favelas of Brazil.

Their live soundtrack to French film ‘La Haine’ acted as a catalyst to forming the line‐up, where founding guitarist Steve Savale has been re‐joined by original members Dr Das (Bass) and Rocky Singh (drums). For the Music Beyond Mainstream commissioned soundtrack of George Lucas’s dystopian sci-fi film THX1138 former vocalist Ghetto Priest returned alongside ADF’s newer members,
Aktarvata and Nathan ‘Flutebox’ Lee.

Asian Dub Foundation Website

Forget every rule you’ve ever been taught about live music. Ignore every outmoded notion of what it is to be a ‘live’ band. Forget even what you think you think ‘live music’ actually means.

What drives this band is a need to communicate with their audience in a way not possible with traditional live bands.

There are no ‘songs’ as such to perform, there’s no album to promote. The Bays only perform live, they never rehearse, they don’t have a set-list and they couldn’t ever do the same performance twice. It’s all about the moment – an experience or an event that exists between the band and the audience for one time only.

What they do that is so unique, so unprecedented, is that they enter into a creative partnership with the crowd, receiving feedback from the dance floor and reinterpreting that response, rewiring the vibe and taking it to a new level. Each of The Bays is feeling a progression in the music and is anticipating where the performance is going to next. It could change at any moment and pursue a new direction in a second.

And that’s why Music Beyond Mainstream loves The Bays.

The Bays Website

Forever fascinated by the purest possibilities of sound, since forming in 2001 Efterklang have consistently adjusted their sonic modus operandi to suit very specific inspirations. The name Efterklang comes from the Danish word for “remembrance” or “reverberation.”

Constantly pushing the boundaries of pop experimentalism over the course of critically acclaimed albums Efterklang have combined remarkably studied songcraft and emotional resonance. The drive to experiment informs an approach to live performances, garnering the band plaudits for playing in diverse settings – whether alongside the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia (‘Performing Parades Tour’), Northern Sinfonia (Piramida Concerts) or to the company of family members (Vincent Moon’s, An Island documentary).

Piramida, and The Piramida Concerts, which Music Beyond Mainstream made possible in the UK in collaboration with Royal Northern Sinfonia, is perhaps the band’s greatest achievement: an album and live show bringing the outside in, informed by frozen time and the relics humanity leaves in its expanding wake. Piramida’s roots were laid in 2010, when the band first saw photographs of a forgotten settlement lying, slowly dying, on Spitsbergen, an island of the Svalbard archipelago midway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. This ghost town, which the trio eventually visited in August 2011 (drummer Thomas Husmer left before Piramida’s commencement), would give their fourth album its title, and comprise the conceptual catalyst for its contents.

The band performed a unique concert together with Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester (South Denmark Philharmonic), Sønderjysk Pigekor (South Denmark Girls Choir), Hans Ek (conductor) and a string of special guests in 2014. It was named ‘The Last Concert‘, and featured songs from their entire discography as well as unreleased and so far unknown Efterklang songs. Esteemed cinematographer Vincent Moon documented and interpreted the concert in one long take.

They called it ‘The Last Concert’, but Efterklang are indeed still around and busier than ever with a string of projects.

Efterklang Website

Heritage Orchestra is the orchestra that rocks out arenas, messes with other peoples music, and keeps orchestral tradition in the cellar. Since 2004 this renegade ensemble has written it’s own music, veered wildly between genres, and collaborated with a diverse and high profile array of artists.

It has embraced sound, visual, and adaptive music technology in ways that make other orchestras recoil in fear, and still they don’t play any classical repertoire.

Are you sure they’re an orchestra?

MBM loves The Heritage Orchestra as they defy classical tradition while bringing the power of the orchestra to amazing projects that explore music.

The Heritage Orchestra Website

Hugh Masekela is an international star and one of the most charismatic figures in South African culture.

He has been the heart and soul of South African music for forty years – even though he spent most of those years in enforced exile. His trumpet has been an instrument of resistance, a call to freedom and a celebration of the resilience of his people. His music has mourned the tragedy of apartheid and rejoiced at its demise.

Hugh Masekela is South Africa’s most enduring musical ambassador with music that brims over with a contagious, joyful warmth and optimism. “The man with the horn” is a living legend and a great performer.

Hugh Masekela Website

Jessica is an internationally acclaimed BAFTA-winning composer of contemporary classical music and is also co-founder of renowned games company The Chinese Room. She often writes for unusual spaces and her work has been performed in diverse and high-profile venues such as The Old Vic Tunnels, The Barbican, Sydney Opera House, Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Wellcome Trust, MOMI New York, The Royal Opera House, Sage Gateshead and Durham Cathedral.

The Washington Post have described her music as “stupendous” and The Guardian recently praised her “gorgeous orchestral score” for ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ which was also voted in to the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2016 and was named soundtrack of the year by MOJO magazine and sat in the Top 10 of both the Official and Classic FM charts for several weeks.

Jessica wrote the music for the genre-defying ‘Dear Esther’, which won awards for Best Audio at the TIGA’s, a GANG award and nominations for Best Audio at the BAFTAs. The music went on a worldwide orchestral tour as part of Replay: Symphony of Heroes. The sold-out ‘Dear Esther Live’, where the game was played real-time alongside musicians and BAFTA nominated actor Oliver Dimsdale has recently premiered at The Barbican to great acclaim.

Jessica’s music has had extensive airplay on Classic FM, as well as on radio stations and in concert halls around the world.

Jessica Curry Website

Following the implosion of his band The Czars and a period of six years learning to live and survive without all his former crutches Grant nailed his 2010 solo debut Queen Of Denmark. It’s been the most spectacular of journeys, from a place in time when John Grant feared he’d never make music again or escape a life of addiction, to winning awards, accolades and Top 20 chart positions, and collaborating with Sinead O’Connor, Goldfrapp, Elton John and Hercules & Love Affair. The fact he subsequently won a Best International Male Solo Artist nomination at the 2014 BRITS alongside Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Drake, seemed like some fantasy dreamt up in a moment of outrageous hubris.

Music Beyond Mainstream put Grant together with The Royal Northern Sinfonia as a 34-piece orchestra for a UK tour, commissioning new songs from Grant that would be released on his third album invitingly titled Grey Tickles. The BBC also requested a session of the orchestral show with BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. It was broadcast live on 6 Music, and subsequently released by Bella Union, confirming that it was simply the latest spectacular chapter in his personal and artistic renaissance.

Ongoing health issues (not least of which is handling his HIV Positive status), still processing, “decades of brainwashing,” he says from a traumatic childhood, Grant still manages to keep fighting the good fight, and writing his way out of trouble. “I want to continue to challenge myself,” he says. “To keep collaborating, to get the sound or the direction that will take me where I need to go. To keep taking the bull by the horns.”

John Grant Website

Ladysmith Black Mambazo first came together in the early 1960s under the gentle guidance of sweet-voiced Joseph Shabalala. His inspiration for the group came to him in a dream in which a choir of children sang and danced, and he soon transferred that dream to reality when he formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Ladysmith is the name of Joseph’s hometown. Black being a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo being the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them.
 
The group borrows heavily from a traditional music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa, where black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed and paid worse, the mine workers would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours on Sunday morning. When the miners returned to the homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.
 
In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated the group’s rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into “Graceland” – a landmark recording, seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. Since then, the group has been awarded two more Grammy Awards (“Raise Your Spirit Higher (2004) and “Ilembe (2009)”) and has been nominated a total of fifteen times.
 
Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with numerous artists from around the world. Nelson Mandela (shortly after his release from prison) publicly stated that the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo were “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors”.  

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Website

Paloma Faith is proving to be one of the most innovative and creative female singers of her generation; never afraid to take risks or push boundaries. A captivating chanteuse, a rabblerousing entertainer and theatrical fashion chameleon, her debut album, ‘Do You Want the Truth, or Something Beautiful?’ remains a glossy collection of retro-referencing soul and sassy pop.

From the off Paloma has always been meticulous in mapping the visual imagery to accompany her music, be they videos, photographs or set design. Ever the film fan, Faith looks on this second record as the union of her first two loves: film and music. It’s the soundtrack to her life. “I wanted it to be a homage to film, for everything to look and feel and sound like it was part of a movie.”

Of course where these songs, and Paloma Faith, truly come alive is onstage. It’s before an audience that every aspect of her vision is fully realised. It’s in the live delivery that Faith connects with her audience.

A lot of people write songs because they want to record them in a studio, they want put their feelings out there,” she says. “I don’t write songs for that reason: I write songs so I can perform them.”

Paloma Faith Website

In 1972-73 Simon Jeffes was in the south of France. Food poisoning, a fever and a nightmare vision of a de-humanised near future led to the Penguin Café.

A different place to the harsh, loveless future of the dream Penguin Café was at the end of a dusty road where you would eventually find a ramshackle old building with noise and light pouring out into the dark. It’s a place you just fundamentally want to go into, and this is the Penguin Cafe. There are long tables and everyone sits together, and it’s very cheerfully chaotic. In the back, there is always a band playing music that you are sure you’ve heard somewhere but you have no idea where – and that is the Penguin Cafe Orchestra – they play this music.

Simon Jeffes woke and decided that he would write the music that would be played by the band from his dream. For 25 years he wrote and that is the world Penguin Café, led by Simon’s son Arthur, inhabits.

Founded in 2009 Penguin Café brought together a talented and disparate group of musicians from the likes of Suede, Gorillaz and Razorlight, initially to perform his father Simon Jeffes’ legacy of world renowned Penguin Cafe Orchestra music, ten years after his untimely death in 1997.

Arthur, a talented composer in his own right, quickly began to create new and unique genre-defying music, with the spellbinding philosophy of the Penguin Cafe always in his mind. The new work utilizes many different instruments and influences including elements of African, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Bluegrass, Classical, Avant-Garde & Minimalist music, using a variety of instruments from strings, pianos, harmoniums, slide guitars, cuatros, kalimbas, experimental sound loops, mathematical notations and more.

Penguin Cafe Website

Pere Ubu is a rock band that considers itself to be working within the mainstream of the genre.

Pere Ubu make a music that is a disorienting mix of midwestern groove rock, “found” sound, analog synthesizers, falling-apart song structures and careening vocals. It is a mix that has mesmerized critics, musicians and fans for decades.

The Pere Ubu project was supposed to be an end, not a beginning. Assembled in August 1975 to be the Crosby Stills Nash & Young of the Cleveland music underground, the plan was to record one, maybe two singles and exist no more. Within months, however, those first self-produced records were being snapped up in London, Paris, Manchester, New York and Minneapolis. Pere Ubu was changing the face of rock music.

Over the next four decades they defined the art of cult; refined the voice of the outsider; and inspired the likes of Joy Division, Pixies, Husker Du, Henry Rollins, REM, Sisters of Mercy, Thomas Dolby, Bauhaus, Julian Cope and countless others.

“Ubu are generally regarded as the missing link between the Velvets and punk. From the beginning they obviously understood the nuts and bolts of popular music, and then loosened them”. – Joe Cushley, MOJO.

In 2014, Pere Ubu renounced its ‘US citizenship’ and applied for creative asylum in Leeds, England, after a cabal of the American Federation of Musicians and a clique of government clerks in a small town in Vermont determined that Pere Ubu was unworthy of being granted permission to perform in America.

If you really want to understand Pere Ubu click here.

 

Pere Ubu Website
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