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La Boum! at The Tunnels

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Interesting music promotions present as part of Sound festival

La Boum!

The Tunnels, Aberdeen. Sunday 27th November @ 8pm Entry 8. Phone (01224) 211121

LA BOUM! is a Scottish band with a unique and instantly recognisable sound.

Drawing inspiration from all over the world the music is essentially song driven, at once highly danceable and delicate. The sound of La Boum! is a big one. The ten piece is distinguished by the guitar and voice of Tom Salter, which bring echoes of the music and musicians he has worked with in Africa. Tom's lead vocal is complemented by a horn section and 3 piece vocal section, Wee Free.

The band is creating a new and cohesive form all their own from the welter of musical styles around us. In La Boum! African influences mesh with the rich urban and folk traditions of cosmopolitan Scotland. La Boum! features a formidable line-up of already well-known stars of the Scottish music scene - Ben Ivitsky (Eliza Carthy Band) on guitar and fiddle, Donald Hay (Mystery Juice, Sun Honey) on drums. Powerful harmonies flow from Wee Free, comprising of Mary Macmaster (Poozies), Heather Macleod (Eliza Carthy Band).

A strong Malian thread dates from the time Tom spent living and playing with the legendary Ali Farka Toure in the early 90s. Tom still joins Ali on stage as his guest star on his now rare appearances. Snatches of Congolese rumba, Zimbabwean jit and mbalax from Senegal can also be heard. These originate from Tom's time with other great African musicians: Thomas Mapfumo's guitarist Jonah Sithole (the father of the mbira sound); Bob Sen of Super Diamono de Dakar; and the late great Biggie Thembo who inspired the Bundu boys.

A heady mixture of dance, ambient rumba, jazz and folk - music for the global village dancehall!

Indeed, La Boum! have enjoyed many a night playing in village halls, and at parties and benefits, but have steadily moved onto the stages of Scotland's major festivals and happily accepted an invite to play as part of London's BBC Music Live event on the South Bank. Edinburgh Festival 2000 saw them feature twice in Best of the Fest programmes. They closed the World Art Stage, with a live Internet broadcast, for the Finale event on the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh's Princes St Gardens, against the majestic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and live on BBC Radio Scotland's Celtic Connections Special. They have had regular airplay on Radio Scotland ever since.

The Musicians

Tom Salter - lead vocal & guitar

Tom's recent influences have come from Africa. He has worked with Ali Farka Toure and the Super Rail Band in Mali and the late Biggie Thembo's Ocean City Band in Zimbabwe. Tom attributes his guitar driven song writing, in part, to the diverse threads in the British pop music he heard when he was growing up especially blues, jazz and reggae. Scotland, in particular the remote peninsula of Scoraig on the West Coast where he lived in the 90's and Edinburgh where he now lives, has formed the context for his song writing.

Ben Ivitsky - guitar & fiddle

Ben was born in Edinburgh and brought up between there and Uganda.Music was featured heavily in family life and at a young age he played fiddle in the family ceilidh band. Later he went travelling, first to Italy and from there all over Europe, playing fiddle with a jazz saxophonist. On return to Edinburgh he joined the bluegrass Critterhill Varmints and then Boogaloosa where cajun was the flavour. He was also with Kith and Kin, fronted by fellow La Boumster, Micky Marr. More recently Ben has lent his sonic sounds to the Peatbog Faeries and presently Eliza Carthy, with whom, as with La Boum! he plays a prominent part in songwriting and production. It is mainly through these collaborations that Ben has extensively toured major festivals in five continents.

Donald Hay - drums

From Edinburgh, Donald was first known as the drummer with Edinburgh based Eat the Seats and G-Spot Tornado. To support studying for a National Certificate in Practical Music he played percussion for Dance Classes. Since 1995, when he joined La Boum! Donald has consecutively developed Mystery Juice (Vertical), who have built a huge fan base through touring Britain and, with the aid of the British Council, Russia. They have releases on Human Condition, Vertical, and Greenwave Music in Russia. As a studio session musician he features on the recordings of many other artists, such as Kate Rusby (Mercury Award Nominee), Kathryn Tickell, The Battlefield Band, Tabache, Eilidh Shaw and Roddy Campbell. In a live capacity he has been called on by Eliza Carthy (Mecury Award Nominee), Shooglenifty, Peatbog Faeries and Bachue. Presently he also plays as part of Pollen, Sunhoney (Vertical) and Nusa (Vertical).

Greg Ivitsky - saxophone

Greg was born in Kampala, Uganda and brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland. By the age of 12 he was playing guitar in a ceilidh band with his dad & brothers, but turned his attention to the saxophone aged 16. Soon after he was gigging around Edinburgh with rootsy blues outfit Tommy Beavitt & The Night Kitchen. Musically and geographically he quickly explored further afield - recorded and performed in the UK, Holland and at Glastonbury with Kith & Kin, and co -founded funk band Captain Shifty. Shortly after, with Casa Cabrales soon to become Salsa Celtica, he enjoyed playing latin music at the onset of it's huge rise in popularity. He brings all of this experience to La Boum! which he joined in 1995. Additionally Greg has worked as music programmer for Edinburgh's infamous Bongo Club since it's inception in 1996.

Doug Duncan - trumpet

Doug started playing when he was eleven, initially practising classical, orchestral and big band jazz styles. After furthering his music at college he went to France, where he had his first exposure to African and West Indian styles and played professionally for the first time. Returning to Scotland in 1991, he moved to Edinburgh where he played with Greg Ivitsky for the first time, in the Night Kitchen, the weird and wonderful Papa's Magic Beard and Makossa. He has constantly experimented with styles from blues through jazz to hip-hop. He has recorded for film and appeared on both East Coast Project albums. Currently he enjoys playing Cuban Son and Latin American music with Edinburgh based El Tigre.

Micky Marr - bass guitar

Born in Edinburgh and brought up on the West Coast of Scotland, Micky studied Graphic Design in Glasgow and whilst there joined his first band The Special Guests, as their drummer. He moved to Edinburgh in 1986 and formed the Critterhill Varmints who evolved through time into Kith & Kin. Both bands were platforms for his own songs, which he fronted on guitar and vocals. Kith & Kin toured widely in the UK and Holland, including the demanding job of opening Glasgow's Big Day in 1990 to a crowd of 200,000. Fran Healy from Travis was recently quoted in the press, saying, "...I vividly remember seeing a band from Edinburgh called Kith & Kin, open the show at the park, and thinking "wow! They're amazing..."", citing the band as a major influence on him to pursue music. Micky joined La Boum! on bass in 1995, whilst continuing to work on his own songs.

Wee Free - Heather Macleod

Born on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, Heather started to pursue singing whilst at Art School in Aberdeen. After cutting her teeth on the Blues scene there, she moved to Edinburgh in 1995. Whilst working as music programmer for The Bongo Club and as an agent for Stoneyport Agency, she appeared, toured and recorded as lead vocalist with Andy Gunn & the Truth Band, Mr McFalls Chamber, The Loveboat Big Band, and Chroma. A five day masterclass in Jazz Vocals in 1997 led to performances with the Brian Kellock trio and Fionna Duncan. Festival commissions include the Highland Festival's Songhunter project 1998 (Greentrax), and Andy Thorburn's much heralded 'Tuath gu Deas' sung by 12 Scottish vocalists, commissioned by Celtic Connections 1999. Apart from La Boum! Heather arranges and performs backing vocals for Pollen and Eliza Carthy (Warner USA) with whom she has toured extensively at major festivals and venues in the UK, USA and Canada. 2001 has seen her explore her own songwriting with performances at Celtic Connections, Highland and Edinburgh Festivals.

Wee Free - Mary Macmaster

Mary's professional career began when studying Gaelic & Scottish history at Edinburgh University, she formed the harp duo Sileas with Patsy Seddon. With Sileas and as a co-founder of the Poozies, she has toured the world from Japan to Sudan since 1985. She has also worked alongside legendary musicians like Dick Gaughan in Clan Alba, and The Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Phil Cunningham's Highlands and Islands Suite. She worked on a commission of contemporary music with Jo Freya and Kathryn Locke, and with Mike Travis' jazz/folk fusion - Uncharted Territory. Following the theme, in 1998 she joined La Boum! and Pollen. Mary was also one of 12 Scottish singers to perform 'Tuath gu Deas', written by Andy Thorburn for Celtic Connections festival. Shine was then formed with two other TgD voices - Alyth MacCormack and Corrina Hewat. They have since toured extensively, with their debut CD ugarcane due for release in October 2001. Winter 2000 saw Mary join Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell's Ensemble Mystical.


Following their newly released third album 'Marionette',the 9-piece longstanding, Edinburgh based outfit La Boum! are about to hit town the Highlands with their floor filling brew of world music.....Come along and catch the live experience that is La Boum!

"...backing singers who sound like Bob Marley's I Threes and a booting horn section. Who the hell are these people?" FRoots

"The steamiest dance band North of the rainforest" The List

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