Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity, ‘Sonnet 62’ Official Video and Raf and O’s New Album ‘Portal’ is Out Now

August 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

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Raf and O Portal Launch Photos 1
Raf and O Portal Album Launch – soundcheck and performance. Photos 1 and 2 © Gaz De Vere, Photo 3 © Peter Tainsh

Raf and O’s new album ‘PORTAL‘ on Telephone Records is OUT NOW!!
Available on CD and Digital via Bandcamp, iTunes and all good digital stores.
Watch the Official Video for ‘Sonnet 62’ with lyrics by William Shakespeare which was premiered on God Is In The TV Zine (see above)

Latest press says:

“The sublime new album by Raf and O is called ‘Portal’. It’s very difficult to choose highlights from such a consistently winning record”
ADRIAN SPECS

“A further voyage into their adventurous musical dreams, spliced with the literary influences of William Seward Burroughs and Shakespeare.”
GOD IS IN THE TV ZINE

“Raf and O are a band of kaleidoscopic, unusual ideas, and, with ‘Portal’, they have created a remarkable record. There is a celestial, otherworldly element to them…they are totally unique”
PENNYBLACKMUSIC MAGAZINE

“Raf and O’s gothic and magical references are twisted to conjure up ominous visions, to a backing track of free-spirited avant-jazz drumming, trip-hop and contorted machine music …from esoteric Italian to plague originated nursery rhyme English, on ‘Drunk’, to channeling a smoky bar room Scott Walker vibe, on ‘Neurons’… Paying homage once again to their biggest inspiration, David Bowie, the duo transforms the original (Win from ‘Young Americans’) into a beautifully melting, strung-out plucked love recital. Brilliantly shimmering with an affectionate, ruminating and heart-aching vocal … the album cementing the partnership’s unique narratives and poetic views of a machine age and cybernetic world”
MONOLITH COCKTAIL

“If you are looking for instant gratification in a busy world, try listening to “The Deadliest Flower” or “Magic” to give you an insight into just one window pane of their diverse work”
HUMAN DYNAMICS

GET THE NEW ALBUM HERE!
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Raf and O Portal Launch Photos 2

Raf and O Portal Album Launch. Photo © Peter Tainsh

The Launch at St James The less was a wonderful experience …. performing the album in its entirety, we were able to make the journey. Tons of thanks to the brilliant Klarita Kaparte for promoting a splendid night, Robert Logan for being the ‘special’ special guest and for his excellent set, Alan Pride for tons of support, thanks to the wonderful audience for being part of the journey, for the photos, the footage and for getting the album.The Portal leads somewhere ….
Ahead of the launch we did an extensive interview with Carya Gish exclusively for Kaparte Promotions. You can read the whole thing HERE:

In January we were all shaken by the news of David Bowie’s passing . Now that we had time to adjust, cannot think of a better way to honour him this summer than to return and join the line up for the Beckenham Bandstand renamed the Bowie Bandstand. The festival is and has always been in our hearts. Originally organised by Bowie and his friends from the Beckenham Arts Lab, The UK’s first Free Festival was on 16 August, 47 years ago and it coincided with the release of his first hit single Space Oddity. This Saturday, 13th August, we will all be celebrating him, the legacy of the Beckenham Arts lab and help to raise funds again at Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity AKA Memory of A Free Festival. The line up comprises of Malcolm Doherty, Daphne Guinness, Maggi Ronson, Raf and O, Phillip Rambow, Jona Lewie, Then Jerico, Amory Kane, Boe Huntress and a few others! 
Mary Finnigan who originally organised the festival with David, will be signing copies of her recently published book Psychedelic Suburbia  and we’re honoured to have a mention “Most impressive were Raf and O, a talented avant-garde duo influenced by David Bowie but no copycat.” Mary Finnigan, Psychedelic Suburbia.   The event organiser Wendy Faulkner  says “After the devastating news of David’s death in January we felt we had to do a tribute for him — and there’s no more fitting place to do this than the bandstand where he played in 1969”. The Bowie Archive has donated another item signed by him plus other items will be available at the auction. Generously supported by DavidBowie.com , Tony Visconti and Iggy Pop.

The festival starts at 1pm, Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Beckenham.
See the whole press release/ line up as featured on David Bowie Official on our LIVE PAGE
TICKETS
FB EVENT

See you there!

Raf and O xx

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Commencing Countdown © Gaz de Vere, All rights Reserved

Bowie's Beckenham Oddity - Commencing Countdown, engines on

 

 

 

Memory of a Free Festival 2014, Fairywood + ‘Time Machine’ is one of this year’s Best Albums on FACT

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Greetings!
It’s July and as the sun infuses its energy upon us,
may this spread positives among us all!
In our musical world it’s been a really good year so far and continues to be so.
Raf and O’s new album ‘Time Machine has been selected as one of the best album of 2014 in FACT Magazine alongside Neneh Cherry and Rocketnumbernine in the Joe Muggs’s Top 10 Album list!!
We’re wonderfully blown away and very proud of this. Get yourself a copy of the CD Album
HERE. Digital available in all good stores.

Some other wonderful news – Memory Of A Free Festival returns!
Raf and O have been invited to perform again at the re-run of the legendary Beckenham Free Festival organised by David Bowie and The Beckenham Arts Lab in 1969. On Saturday 16th August, Natasha Ryzhova Lau, with the help of some generous volunteers, is staging the event for a second year in a row, 45 years from the day and the date. Mary Finnigan, a key figure of the original festival is also involved and Roger Wootton from legendary Comus (who were playing weekly at the Arts Lab and played the Festival in ’69 ) will also take the stage. We’re thrilled to join all the artists, some of whom we met in 2013, we are opening up proceedings, see the LIVE page for full line up/flyer, location and transport details. Last year saw an audience of over 1000 people and £7000 pounds were raised towards the restoration of the Beckenham Bandstand; it was just wonderful despite a rain machine in full action; may the sun machine return safely to the Croydon Road Recreation Ground. Get there early, gates open 12.30, it’s only a fiver and there’s a beer tent this year too; we’ll be in action just after 1pm, don’t miss!

As well as the Beckenham Festival we’re really looking forward to perform at a new Festival in Brentwood, precisely Fairywood at Kelvedon Hatch, which used to be home to the secret nuclear bunker. The festival with its fairytale and thematic settings promises to be a magical gathering running on the weekend of the 9th and 10th August.
We will take the stage on the Sunday 10th, as the evening starts to fall.  More info and tickets for the whole weekend or for the one day can be found HERE

And to cap it off we’ve recently been invited by the amazing Richard Strange to partake in a unique and very special William Burroughs inspired project at the Queen Elizabeth Hall planned for October, which will also see the Doctors of Madness reforming for a one off performance after 36 years! We are delighted and very honoured!! More details will be posted here in the very near future.

Raf and O x
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Images: Beckenham Bandstand graphic courtesy of Memory Of A Free Festival.
Photos of Raf and O performing at Memory Of A Free Festival in 2013 and on ”Time Machine’ session by Luigi Altilia.

Raf and O - Memory Of A Free Festival 2014.

Memory Of A Free Festival – Lady Grinning Soul Live Video – Raf and O on The Beckenham Bandstand + Kaparte Oxjam 2013

October 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

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When we wrote about our memories of the festival in our last blog , we mentioned a new video was on the way – here it is, all the way from the Beckenham bandstand!
Raf and O perform a micro rendition of David Bowie’s ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’ and ‘Lady Grinning Soul’.
Huge thanks to Luigi Altilia for filming. Further below – ‘Beckenham: Free Festival at bandstand jogs memories of a star man’s arts scene’.

Raf and O - Memory Of A Free Festival Press

Thanks goes to Wendy Woo for sending the newspaper clipping from the day above.

And from the iconic victorian bandstand to the stylish art deco settings of The Ivy House in Nunhead. Keeping it live in the South East, Raf and O will be performing next, at the excellent Kaparte Oxjam Festival- a great line up, alongside Ernesto Tomasini, Gagarin and more. Friday 18th October, a night of experimental and electronic music, avant-garde entertainment, visuals and djs. All proceedings will go to Oxfam. For details, address, tickets and FB event, please see our LIVE PAGE.

See you there!
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‘We Played Our Songs And Felt The London Sky …’ Memories Of Memory Of A Free Festival

September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Raf and O at Memory Of A Free Festival a  photo by Dave Flynn Photography
Raf and O at Memory Of A Free Festival b photo by Luigi Altilia

‘Tons of aliens came down, did you not recognise them?’ #rain Raf and O tweet. So the rain machine came down this time, but the crowd was not afraid.
Umbrella heaven in Croydon Road Recreation Ground and we all had a fabulous time!!!
‘Memory Of A Free Festival managed to recreate the magic of the original event’ – a local newspaper reports. The Beckenham Free Festival remake to save the iconic bandstand has been supported by David Bowie who donated signed items that were auctioned on the day. Media coverage includes the Independent, Daily Telegraph, NME, several others got behind the Festival. BBC news and radio also covered the event.
Raf and O had the pleasure to play a live session/ interview for BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Show prior to the Festival.

‘We played our songs and felt the London sky …’Raf and O at Memory Of A Free Festival c photo by Dave Flynn Photography

We also had the privilege to open up proceedings on the Beckenham bandstand. After initial speeches from festival organiser Natasha Ryzhova Lau and Mary Finnigan who organised the original one with David, we took the stage; it had just started to pour down…the wind was sweeping the rain onto the bandstand, but we did not care, the audience was great, we opened with a micro rendition of ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’ then we played the rest of our set and ended with ‘Lady Grinning Soul’. I felt David’s energy up there.

It was a pleasure to share the stage with all who performed, we met some great people, performers, technicians, the audience, volunteers, people from present, past and future; Bill Liesegang, Amory Kane and Mary sharing their memories from 1969. All together at the end for a jam session joining in a longer version of ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’ – Darcy Debrett brought and played an harmonium for the occasion. This was the closure to the second chapter on the bandstand.
Then the auction …
Thanks to Mark Sparkler who compered on the day, Val on sound, big thanks to Natasha who’s done a fab job, Luigi Altilia for filming, all who took photographs, all who shared this moment. A live video from the event will be posted up soon.

Next we will be playing at the ever wonderful Kaparte Oxjam Festival – please check our LIVE PAGE for details and tickets.
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Raf and O at Memory Of A Free Festival - Newspaper clipping

Time Machine And The Sun Machine – Memory Of A Free Festival 2013

August 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

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Raf and O announce the new album ‘Time Machine’ will be out in the autumn.  We are extremely pleased to say that our album will be out before the year’s over; July called for some splendid sun, we’ve been walking and replenishing! We’re now making plans for our new release and will keep you posted.

On the gigging front, we’ve been playing some fresh material. Performing on the carpet where Bob Dylan stood and played London for the first time, Scaledown 90 at The King and Queen was our recent live outing. On the night also a powerful solo performance by the brilliant Charles Hayward. Thanks Scaledown for hosting us, it was a great night!

Returning back to South East side of London, Beckenham is our next destination…In the summer of 1969 David Bowie and the Beckenham’s Arts Lab organised a Free Festival in Beckenham Recreation Ground. Bowie played and compered at the event, immortalised in the song ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’ for his album of the same year. Fourty-four years later, Memory Of A Free Festival 2013  is the homage festival to the original, raising funds to restore the historic victorian bandstand stage and Raf and O have been selected to play on the day: we will perform original material and our version of Bowie’s ‘Lady Grinning Soul’, which  is available as a single plus another surprise in store. Very very excited about this! Having been at the V&A exhibition earlier in the year, memories become realities, connections and stories come out of the pages – my treasured album of David Bowie 1969 stands the test of time. Past and present keep intermingling in the true spirit of Raf and Oupcoming album ‘Time Machine’. The Festival is in Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Beckenham on September 15th – details on the LIVE PAGE.

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Raf and O performing ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ December 2012 and Raf and O in the studioRaf and O performing 'Lady Grinning Soul' Raf and O in the studio

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