January 8, 2017 § Leave a comment
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
August 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
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”
“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”
“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”
“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”
GET THE NEW ALBUM HERE!
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
See you there!
Raf and O xx
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Commencing Countdown © Gaz de Vere, All rights Reserved
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
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.
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.
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
Raf and O x
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Raf and O setting up at Starman, a celebration of David Bowie, Union Chapel. Photo taken by David McAlmont