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The Hand + Ichi + Rachael Dadd + Wig Smith @ Peacock, 16th April

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interesting music promotions and vocoustics present

NO MORE SOUNDCHECKS - an evening of unplugged performances featuring THE HAND + ICHI + RACHAEL DADD + WIG SMITH

Thursday 16th April

Peacock Visual Arts

21 Castle Street, Aberdeen AB11 5BQ. Phone 01224 639539

Doors 8pm Entry 5






Rachael met Wig a few years ago working on Bristol ferry boats. They shared a love of all sorts, Robert Wyatt, Joni Mitchell, Jolie Holland. Wig made her the best compilation cds, introducing her to wonderfully obscure and enchanting music. On quiet winter shifts Rachael would bring her banjo to work and sit on the engine cover as Wig drove, and theyd sing Leonard Cohen & Sibylle Baier songs to lone commuters. Wig had been in love with world music for a long time and so bought a kora and taught himself to play. Wanting to explore their shared love of music they started to write together. Using kora, banjo, guitar, ukulele, piano, harmonium, clarinet, autoharp and percussion, they began making music that was primarily instrumental. When theyd sing it was usually together and usually in harmony. Theyd start with an idea and the idea seemed to take itself off on an adventure, and then theyd have a song that neither of them owned and it felt liberating.

They named themselves after one of Bristols ferry stops where stands a huge bronze cast of a hand, recorded a demo, played a live session and had track of the week on Brightons radio reverb, and went on a UK tour in autumn 2007. Since this time they have played extensive gigs and UK festivals including Camp Bestival and Truck Festival, made a self-recorded album titled Berries From the Rubble which has been released on Japanese label Angels Egg, and have just returned from a 3 week Japan tour. While in Japan they recorded as guest musicians for the forthcoming World Standard album. They recently discovered that the banjo is a descendant of the kora. Their music is full of surprises, even for them!



Ichi, from Nagoya in Japan, takes the notion of a one-man band to new limits - combining steel-drum with ping-pong balls, tape-loops with double bass and trumpet with xylophone, all in the space of one short set. Somehow there's an ancient, ritualistic feel to his performances. He's like the misplaced leader of a tribe and perhaps he will be - it's this kind of excellence and innovation which inspires a cult following. At the same time, his music is so playful and unusual - it gives you the feeling that you're witnessing something entirely new. It's fun, it's danceable, it's exciting.

His album, Mono is released on the Japanese label Coup, and if you heard the CD before you see him play, you'd never believe he reproduces it live, but he does (minus the mewing from his two cats, some atmospheric sound recordings and a few contributions from some other friends). Ichi is also a 20-year long member of the Nagoya New Wave band Nohshinto, and has toured extensively as a solo artist in Japan, and has played with Shugo Tokumaru and Asa-Chang & Junray.



Whether it be by handing out cake or percussive pots of rice to shake, Rachael puts her audience at ease - she's had plenty of practice, having toured England and Japan numerous times, and played festival slots since 2001 including an appearance on Glastonburys Acoustic Stage with one of her collaborative projects, Whalebone Polly (with Kate Stables of This is the Kit). She enjoys performing in intimate settings the most, but can adapt well, having proved this when she performed a series of shows in Japan, each to an audience of 3000.

Rachael makes most of her music by telling everyone that she's going to bed, and then sneaking off to her trusty 8-track and plugging herself in. Her songs sparkle with a wide-eyed wonder and exhibit a fascination for the everyday magic of life. Soon after stepping foot in Bristol in 2003, Rachael gained the reputation by Venue Magazine as, the author of a deft, charismatic brand of folk music". Since then she has turned the heads of Rob Da Bank, Bob Harris and Huw Stevens, as well as those in other fields such as artist Yoshitomo Nara. Her last album The World Outside is in a Cupboard was described as absolutely staggering by Julian Peck of Sunday Best Recordings. She has been adopted as part of the Fence Collectives extended family, and has been invited to be part of several compilation releases, the most recent being Little Things on Indy label Flau, from which The Wire Magazine picked out her contribution as one that appeals most of all.



Wig Smith, an extremely gifted solo musician, has achieved a great amount in the last 3 years. Having only played his first live gig three Augusts ago (supporting the darkly enchanting Diane Cluck), he has since clocked up an impressive list of achievements. In 2007 he played a 13 date UK tour, and in autumn 2008 he recorded a solo album which has since been released on Japanese label Angel's Egg. One of his greatest achievements in 2008 was to travel by train and boat across land and sea, kora and ukulele in tow, to arrive on Japanese shores where he teamed up with Rachael Dadd to play a 12 date tour of the country to eagerly awaiting ears.

As if piano, ukulele and guitar were not enough, he bought a kora from e-bay and set about teaching himself how to play it. Then, taking influences from many different genres, particularly his great loves: world music, new folk music, poetry and folk tales, he has been quietly and modestly forging his very own language (Wig also helps organise a monthly story-telling and music night in Bristol called Folk Tales). His music comes from an inner strength and self assuredness, and possesses an outer beauty and fragility. Maybe it is something that lies in the intricacies - the relationship between vocal melody and the kora's phrasing, or maybe it's the sentiment of such lyrics: "The lines have appeared to itch since I learnt their language", and "Our hearts are folded - it takes two to make a full frame", (both of which reflect his other life as a harbor man, along with one of his side projects 'a boat a boat' which is music made from recorded boat sounds and blowing over the necks of beer bottles); It's hard to put a finger on what it is exactly, but there is certainly something about Wig Smith's mysterious music, that for those who give it their time, will magically get under the skin.


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