‘Woodland-dwelling phantoms and shamanic Afro-funk collide in the wild jazz conjurations conceived by Bex Burch and her trio’ Jazzwise
‘Vula Viel have created something that sounds both cool and funky.’ Evening Standard
‘Dance to it, make love to it’ Iggy Pop
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 band’s 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. Do Not Be Afraid (released in January 2019) with Ruth Goller (bass) and Jim Hart (drums), is the first set of Burch originals written on traditional Dagaare forms.
Described as ‘Ghanaian minimalism’, with the unassuming ability to blur the lines between atmospheres – Vula Viel’s sound may nod to Steve Reichian jazz, but influences don’t stop there: one can hear echoes of Bill Laswell and the irresistible energy of Arthur Russell.
In Bex’s 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. I’ve 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 wouldn’t have access to without them.’
Please note that this is a standing event, seating is limited. Please call the Box Office on 020 7520 1490 to discuss your access requirements.
Bex Burch gratefully acknowledges support from PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England.
Take advantage of our Saturday Festival Pass.