Vula Viel

Vula Viel
Vula Viel
Forward-thinking UK trio Vula Viel release their sophomore album, Do Not Be Afraid on 25th January 2019, continuing their unique musical journey centred around the Gyil (Ghanaian xylophone).

The bands new set confidently weaves sparse polyrhythms and intricate rhythm structures around bandleader Bex Burchs Gyil lines and take the instruments sound into new territory, with bassist Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Rokia Traore) and drummer Jim Hart (Cloudmakers, Ralph Alessi, Electric Biddle) introducing a rough, post-punk edge to the bands sound.

In Bexs own words: I have loved making this music. The incredible Dagaare systems which form the foundation have given me the structure on which to write tunes, craft grooves and choose my own meanings. Ive gone deeper into what moves me in the Dagaare music, the fundamentals - asymmetry, space and chaos. I love how Do Not Be Afraid feels - a totally unusual and unique groove. As musicians, Ruth and Jim are incredible: They bring passion, talent, intuition and a depth that I wouldnt have access to without them.

Vula Viel was formed in 2013 by Bex Burch. After studying at Guildhall and training as a classical percussionist, she embarked on a life-changing three-year period living, farming and studying with xylophone master Thomas Segura in Upper West Ghana; the bands name means Good is Good in the Dagaare language. After being mentored in the deep traditions around the Gyil, a large African xylophone made of sacred lliga wood, Burch began the journey to bring the instrument into her own music. The acclaimed debut Vula Viel album in 2015, Good is Good, was the first realisation of her vision and Do Not Be Afraid is the first set of Burch originals based on traditional Dagaare forms.

Described as Ghanaian minimalism, with the unassuming ability to blur the lines between atmospheres Vula Viels sound may nod to Steve Reichian jazz, but influences dont stop there: one can hear echoes of Bill Laswell and the irresistible energy of Arthur Russell.

On Do Not Be Afraid, the band bring a new confidence. The opening track, Well Come is a strident, marching opener; the title track comforts the listener, urging them not to fear what they believe, hope and love. The track builds from delicate polyrhythms and gyil lines into a euphoric piece; I Learn which sings out the line Dagaare line Fo tu me na meaning You insult me pounding out the way in which we learn from struggle. Inside Mirror (Inside mirror, unworthily reflects you, mere fraction of the real you) hard hitting groove and awesome guest vocals from Rozie Gyems finishes the A side convincingly.
Fire start off side B delving deeper into this trios capabilities. Fires meaning is about the frustration and struggle and fire we all hold when life is hard and the amazing release and power of that when we keep going! I Love You, seemingly the albums ballad, is a wild cyclic world of turning two simple lines upside down in groove and feel. Breathe the Air has a spaciousness that makes you do just that, but dont be fooled that this is light-weight. The album ends with unique We Are a journey ending track, building cross-rhythms and melodies over an underlying pulse which everything breaks down to for the final line, And I said to them, Stay with me when Im gone, and they said We Are.

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Music / Web Album Vula Viel - Do Not Be Afraid (2019) [FLAC (tracks)] Vula Viel - Do Not Be Afraid (2019) [FLAC (tracks)] 188.71
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