Raf and O Celebrate David Bowie’s 70th Birthday Covering ‘The London Boys’

January 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Raf and O – The London Boys (David Bowie Cover)
Photo by Wendy Woo.

Today would have been David Bowie’s 70th birthday.
Last year was tough and performing at the Union Chapel in his honour felt right, even if strange. We then released ‘Win’ on our last album ‘Portal’ and by the time of Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity (The Beckenham Free Festival Remake) it was easier to smile. Always an influence, we’ve been featuring his tracks in the live sets for a few years and getting a thumb up from Mike Garson for our take on ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ was very special – so to celebrate this special day we have recorded our version of ‘The London Boys’, a Bowie gem from 1966! And leaving electronics aside, this is us at our most acoustic: I play piano and sing and O plays guitar.
Happy birthday David!

With much love.
Raf and O X
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Original press release for David Bowie’s Rubber Band/ The London Boys

original-press-release-for-david-bowies-rubber-band-the-london-boys

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The Man Who Fell To Earth Returns to Space, Starman at Union Chapel, Overground Festival and Pennyblack Shows, Interview + Portal View

February 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

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David Bowie, Starman, a Celebration at Union Chapel

Raf and O live at Starman Bowie Celebration, Union Chapel
Raf and O live at Starman, a celebration of David Bowie, Union Chapel. Photo taken by Ange LM Photography.

Two months into 2016, it’s time for a blog. It seems respectful to start with Bowie.
David Bowie, fell off our Earth on January 10th and the Earth was mourning. It was all so sudden two days after the release of his brilliant new album, he was gone, leaving us with Blackstar, an outstanding piece of work, daring and unafraid, revealing more than its fair share of brilliancy and courage in the aftermath of his death. Later, O and I went to Beckenham, we laid flowers on the bandstand, everything was flickering as clouds raced across greying skies. Those who have been following us know that Raf and O, a few years ago had been reworking Bowie’ s Lady Grinning Soul, included in our album ‘Time Machine’, celebrating our long-standing love for Bowie alongside our original material. We performed it at Memory Of A Free Festival (MOAFF) on the bandstand and received praise from the wonderful Mike Garson and David Bowie Official.
A week after his passing, we celebrated the Starman at the stunning Union Chapel,  performing before an audience unified, together alongside many other artists including the Magic Numbers and David McAlmont. It was an honour tinged with great sadness. The event was broadcasted live. More photos of our performance can be found HERE courtesy of Ange LM photography.
And Garson just returned to the UK to pay tribute to David with Lorde and his old band, a beautiful surprise.
I was recently asked to describe my feelings on Bowie’s legacy and his passing. Here is a transcript from an interview I did with Dominic Simpson for Pennyblackmusic Magazine, as we are about to play Pennyblack first show of 2016. Find the full interview on the photo below.

PB: You’ve covered Bowie songs in the past live. Do you have any comments about his legacy on your music (and in life generally), and how you felt when he died recently?

RM: Okay, I’ll be honest with you, it felt like a great big punch in the stomach, I cried a lot and I was a mess. Many people felt a great deal of grief. One could say, is this an over-reaction? When you have felt empathy, an affinity since almost as early as you can remember towards someone you feel has been the catalyst that shaped your artistic perception, someone who was your biggest inspiration and a general obsession in the nicest possible connotation of the word, then you feel something has blown apart. I never tried to emulate Bowie, but in a sense, I feel like he has given me access to an approach and never fear to dare or to experiment. The way he worked harmonic progressions, for example, directly influenced me as a songwriter, he concocted the element of surprise and excitement, which I crave in music and then served it on a stage through performance, drama, allure and damn good singing. As I said, we performed last Sunday at the Starman celebrations at Union Chapel; it was an honour, but it felt unreal, unreal that he had gone. The man who fell to Earth returns to space but his music is everywhere.

Raf and O Interview for PennyblackMusic
Raf and O interview for Pennyblackmusic

Raf and O Bowie Starman Celebration Union Chapel 2
Raf and O live at Starman a celebration of David Bowie, Union Chapel. Photo by Ange LM.

2016 will see our follow-up to ‘Time Machine’, we are excited to soon be presenting our latest work. Raf and O‘s new album will be called ‘Portal’ featuring Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 62’ which we’ve set music to; a special edit preview was aired last Saturday on the Dexter Bentley show, Resonance FM. The album will also feature ‘Win’ our new take on Bowie’s classic from ‘Young Americans’. We recorded drum takes on January 10th…My heart sinks now when I think about the lyrics. As well as this, we will unveil some of the work stemmed by our collaboration with electronicist  and Grace Jones’ s collaborator, Robert Logan. This will be part of a split EP released between ourselves and our collaboration ahead of the album. Lots more to come on these fronts, we will keep you updated, but watch out for latest news on our Facebook page.

On the live front, as well as Union Chapel, we recently guested at a private party,  having previously played at Whisper and Hurricanes and Kaparte Oxjam.

“They had the room literally transfixed’ Miss Gish Blog

Recently DJ and journalist Joe Muggs from the Boiler Room has been spinning some early Raf and O album tracks and Mary Finnigan talks about our performance in her new book about Bowie, the time with him in 69, the Arts Lab, Beckenham Free Festival and Memory Of A Free Festival (its reprise in 2013 and 2014)

“Most impressive were Raf and O, a talented avant-garde duo influenced by David Bowie but no copycat.” Psychedelic Suburbia, Mary Finnigan.

Here is a video of Raf and O’s ending show of 2015 at Whisper and Hurricanes. Thanks to the Chaos Theory team. Continues below

Coming up shortly …some great gigs! Very much looking forward to March 12th, first Pennyblackmusic gig of 2016. Do join us, Raf and O support Nick Garrie, sixties British singer songwriter, at Sebright Arms, London. More details and TICKETS available HERE.
FACEBOOK EVENT

And then March 18th, Crystal Palace Overground Festival presents this festival fund-raising concert at Anerley Town Hall, a specially curated sonic line up including the great Metamono, who we shared a bill with last year, Raf and O, Sculpture, Brother G and the Trouble plus Junkshop Disco. An excellent audio visual event not to be missed! Strictly TICKETS advance only available HERE
FACEBOOK EVENT

Much love

Raf and O x
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Raf and O Bowie Starman Celebration Union Chapel
Raf and O setting up at Starman, a celebration of David Bowie, Union Chapel. Photo taken by David McAlmont

The Quietus Reviews ‘Time Machine’. Interviews / Session on Resonance FM, Ableton Live Expert + Feature on FACT.

May 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Raf and O - Time Machine latest press

May and June to be greetings!
We’re very honoured to have recently featured in The Quietus with an excellent review of our latest album ‘Time Machine’ by legendary music journalist David Stubbs:

There is a butterfly, acoustic delicacy about tracks like ‘Mad And Brilliant’, and yet also the deceptive, steel strength of spider silk in their complex weaving – Raf’s vocal ranges far and wide in her emotional and lyrical foragings…Freeze-frame any given second of this album and it’ll reveal a hive of pixellated, analogue activity’
David Stubbs, The Quietus

FACT Magazine have listed Raf and O’s ‘Squeezebox’ as one of the 36 best indietronica tracks! Taken from “Has The Air Gone Walking” debut 10” vinyl alongside Gagarin from 2008; to be on this fine selection we are indeed extremely pleased.
‘Superbohemian, super kooky…the sort of record that makes it feel like John Peel is still alive’
Joe Muggs, Fact Magazine

This month we’ve done a few interviews: Shout 4 music popped us some Q&A’s and we’ve also been featured on the Ableton Live Expert website with a video interview and a live in the studio performance of ‘Mad And Brilliant from the ‘Time Machine’ album. Martin Delaney came to film us and we spoke briefly about  our Live set up. It was bright, fun to do and here it is!
(Continues below)

Meanwhile on the gig front, since launching our album at the fabulous Shoreditch Church (featured on David Bowie Official – see previous blog) we returned to Scaledown, where O’s bass made a rare appearance, closely followed by our very first gig in a record shop at Vinyl in Deptford, where we were bathed in psychedelic visuals courtesy of Punkvert VJs for the new Psyche Satyrday.

And to cap off the month, we popped into Resonance FM for a Live Radio Session on the excellent Dexter Bentley Hello Goodbye Show. Thoroughly enjoyed it!  You can catch the podcast HERE where we are performing material from our latest album: You Made Me’,’Saturated Dreams’, ‘Lady Grinning Soul’and ‘The Fog’ with an interview.
Raf and O’s newly released LP ‘Time Machine’ is a hauntingly atmospheric, Folktronica masterpiece’
Dexter Bentley, Resonance FM

Our new ‘Time Machine’ Album and EP are available on the Bandcamp Page. Please support these independent releases by getting your copies HERE!

Raf and O
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David Bowie Official Features Raf and O’s New Album; ‘Time Machine’ is Out Now!

April 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Raf and O’s new full-length second album is OUT NOW!!!
Finally, we’re so proud to present Time Machine, self-released on Telephone, available on Bandcamp, iTunes and all good digital stores.
Latest press says:
“A beguiling slice of noir-pop…a total treat.”
The Girls Are

“Tripped-out hypnotic Raf and O embody the exploratory art school/mime period Bowie from bent out of shape Air meets folkloric avant-noir to ESG and Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief”
Monolith Cocktail

A special gig was staged at the beginning of the month to celebrate its release.
“She’s a tongue twisting storm, she will sing at the show tonight…
David Bowie Official featured the launch for our new album.
We are absolutely thrilled !!!

“One of the more memorable events of the Beckenham Festival in September 2013 was RAF AND O’s haunting performance of David Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul (http://smarturl.it/liveRAFnOlady)… Lady Grinning Soul is included on that new LP: Time Machine” David Bowie Official

The front cover captures Raf and O performing on the Beckenham Bandstand
GET IT HERE!

See picture to read in full. Continues below

Raf and O featured on David Bowie Official

The album ‘Time Machine’  was launched within the majestic setting of Shoreditch Church. And inside the dark, beautiful reverb haven, free from the outside bustle, a focused audience gave wonderful support to a special evening of songs and sonics. Also, playing solo upon the grand piano in this fantastic space, Raf gave a very rare performance of a very old song, ‘Fatzer’. Adam Donen with Roger O’Donnell and band performed beautifully not long after. 
We’d like to thank all who came down and once again Kaparte for the wonderful hosting.

More live performances are scheduled. Today we’re off to play at the ‘genuinely alternative after-office’ Scaledown. For more details, address etc, see our LIVE PAGE. Then next up is South East London in May; we shall be performing at Vinyl in Deptford. Details again will be added HERE.

Raf and O x

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Raf and O Launch of Time Machine at Shoreditch Church

Pictures by Angelique Le Marchand, Adam Donen and Lee Winter

‘Time Machine’ Album and EP Available Now! Presenting Official New Video And Launch At Shoreditch Church

March 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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RAF AND O – TIME MACHINE OFFICIAL VIDEO

Hi folks,
lots of news since our last blog.
Cabaret Futura, in February,  got us right into the mood. We performed ‘Dreamachine’ for the first time to its projected spinning counterpart right behind us! Massive thanks to Richard Strange for inviting us and for setting such a brilliant atmosphere!

Raf and O are proud to announce the  TIME MACHINE EP on Telephone Records, featuring contributions from Merlin & Charles Hayward, Irmin Schmidt affiliate Kumo and Grace Jones collaborator Robert Logan. Available now in all good digital stores and on our NEW BANDCAMP SITE : ‘Interstellar spaciousness’ tweets EXCLAIM! Magazine and features the EP. Get your copy HERE!

Our December encounter with the moving image turned into the ‘Time Machine’ OFFICIAL video, featured in February on New York ‘s IMPOSE Magazine : “With silver space lining, stainless steel kettles and 3-D spectacles adorned; we enter the Raf and O “Time Machine” trip…whispering their song like tomorrow’s cautionary lullabies sent backward to today as an omen of intrigue.” Impose asked us as to how the video was realised and how we go about doing what we do. Both features can be read within the images below.
Pre-orders for the  TIME MACHINE CD ALBUM  are available now. The CD features ten original tracks + our version of David Bowie’s Lady Grinning Soul, with an immediate download of one track when you pre-order. The cover picture was taken on the Beckenham bandstand by Luigi Altilia during Raf and O’s performance of ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ at Memory Of A Free Festival (the remake of the iconic Beckenham Free Festival).  GET THE NEW ALBUM HERE!

And finally…Raf and O’s ‘Time Machine’ Album Launch at the splendid Shoreditch Church: April the 4th, curated by the renowned and excellent Kaparte. Do get your tickets HERE,  before they run out, it will be a night full of surprises. We are really looking forward to play our new album and more! Truly special guests on the night.
Roger O‘Donnell from The Cure! He will be joining Adam Donen and expect more still! Leaving you with an old English nursery rhyme  ‘Oranges and Lemons’.
See you down in Shoreditch!!
X

Raf and O x
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Raf and O - Time Machine Releases
Click on the picture twice to read the full articles

Projecting Ahead

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Hello and December greetings!

2013 is now drawing to a closure. We look back at the highlights of the year: launching Lady Grinning Soul at Café OTO alongside Larsen & Little Annie and performing at Memory Of A Free Festival, (watch Live video), the remake of the iconic Bowie‘s Beckenham Free Festival to raise funds for the bandstand.
Kaparte Oxjam’s night, our last live outing at the Ivy House also felt special; fantastic feedback and lots of very receptive people from each side of the stage. Still cherishing some fabulous gigs.

Raf and O have taken the rest of this year off from live shows and shall return in 2014. Just been confirmed we will be playing at the fabulous Cabaret Futura in February; can’t wait! More dates will be announced soon. In the meantime, we’re working on all logistics for ‘Time Machine’. Our second album will be released in April 2014, a bit later than predicted, but the ‘Time Machine’ will be landing this time. Ahead of the album a new single in March too. We will keep you posted with details and development as they happen. Darkness finds its way in some new inspired tunes as the light reduces and the nights grow longer. New material is in process. Projecting ideas ahead, we hope to bring these fresh sounds to you in the not so distant future! This month we’re prepping something ...

Raf and O - Cinema

And lastly, we leave you with the latest live pictures from the Kaparte Oxjam gig courtesy of Angelique Le Marchand. X
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Raf and O at Kaparte Oxjam 2013 at The Ivy House a Raf and O at Kaparte Oxjam 2013 at The Ivy House b

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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