The time of year when Branchage Film Festival transforms the island into a hive of cultural activity, is fast approaching. From September 22-25th, the festival returns for its fourth edition, with screenings, parties and performances in a whole range of unexpected locations. With offerings such as Radio One DJ Rob Da Bank performing a live alternative soundtrack to the 1933 monster classic King Kong, Simon Fisher Turner & the Elysian Quartet performing a breathtaking live score to the film The Great White Silence, and a Bergerac 30th anniversary black tie dinner, it’s as weird and wonderful as ever.
Here at Gallery, we’re very pleased to be partnering with the festival to present Branchage Globale: A Night of Songs & Beats From Around the World. Taking place on Friday 23rd September this party follows a screening at the Arts Centre, of the acclaimed documentary BENDA BELLILI!
The film is presented in partnership with the Jersey Film Society and tells the story of a group of paraplegic musicians from Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo. The ramshackle band, Staff Benda Bellili, start out in the slums and enjoy a meteoric rise culminating in an album release and a European tour. The documentary has enjoyed huge success and rave reviews, with the likes of film critic Mark Kermode predicting it will be one of his top ten movies of the year. The film itself plays out as a rhythmic, musical piece of cinema, the African blues and rhumba sounds having cinema audiences dancing in their seats in screenings this year.
Following the showing of BENDA BELLILI!, the party gets underway at Havana nightclub in Bath St, with three rooms of live music and DJs presenting an international smorgasbord of music. One of the acts so far confirmed is DJ Martelo, performing a ‘world mashup’ set to headline the night. Martelo, aka Jersey’s own Ryan Maher, is one the best-connected and most-respected DJs in the business, having DJ’d on promo tours for Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, DMX and Destiny’s Child as well as holding a weekly residency at Ministry of Sound by the age of 20. He has also been the tour DJ for Santigold since 2007 (after being recommended by Diplo), and was last year asked to open for Jay-Z twice. Having performed at pretty much every festival from LA’s Coachella to Somerset’s Glastonbury, he’s hot property indeed and this is sure to be a triumphant, not to mention rare, homecoming gig. He describes his style as ‘world music, but not the snobby stuff. Hood music from the global underground.. from the favelas to the projects to the tower blocks’.
Joining Martelo on the bill is London-based Maltese pioneering artist Capitol K. Combining lo-fi pop with electronica, Capitol K, real name Kristian Robinson, was amongst the likes of Tunng and Leafcutter John who helped to create the folk-tronica genre, an influence on artists such as Ellie Goulding and Bat For Lashes. He is one of the most respected producers in the business, having manned the helm for Patrick Wolf and also Branchage 2011 performer Serafina Steer, and since 2009 he has been a member of British alt-rock band Archie Bronson Outfit. Kristian will be performing songs from his second LP Nomad Junk, which was made by sampling traditional instruments and natural sounds whilst on a tour of China, and in keeping with the ‘world music’ theme, he will also be performing the latin sounds of his Cumbian Experiments.
Kristian says of his experiences collecting real sounds, that make up such a fundamental part of his music, from around the world:
‘It’s precisely because everything is so available in some digital internet way that real experience holds so much value. Besides I don’t belong anywhere in particular, I have a permanaent feeling of being misplaced; when I spend time somewhere it’s not just the sounds I collect, it’s also political information and history and people’s own stories. It entertains me.’
There are more live acts to be confirmed (more on this in the September issue of Gallery), and there will be a separate area hosting reggae, dub and dancehall DJs and MCs throughout the evening. Meanwhile, influential music webzine The Quietus will be hosting The Departure Lounge in the Havana’s Chilli Room. Expect to find their DJs spinning all sorts of rarities and oddities from around the world, from Israeli punk to Baille-funk to Gambian psychedelia. Finally, local experimental supergroup-of-sorts Bubblebrain will be performing a specially-commissioned live set of African-tinged electronic noodling. Amongst their ranks are DJ Spim on turntables, London-born grme MC U.G on the mic and The Bloody Battle’s Justin Vooles on drums, and the five-piece band sample found sounds and music to create, in their own words, ‘agitated, paranoiac techno’. They describe their main fascination as being with African and Afro-Carribean rhythms, and will certainly bring an exotic flavour to the party.
Join Gallery for Branchage Globale on Friday 23rd September at Havana Nightclub, from 9pm – 2am. Tickets are £10. Go to
www.branchagefestival.com for ticket info, as well as updates
and programme announcements.