In times of political turmoil, there is a long tradition of poets raising their voice in protest. Bringing together the combined talents of leading poets, rappers, singers and musicians from across the globe, writer, musician and Tongue Fu founder Chris Redmond presents an album for politically chaotic times. Boat Building is a musical and poetic snapshot of the last three tumultuous years seen through the eyes of a diverse cast of collaborators including the likes of Dizraeli, multiple slam champion Vanessa Kisuule, NYC singer and activist AMYRA and Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah. Writing in direct response to events such as the Black Lives Matter movement, Grenfell Tower, the Refugee Crisis and the Climate Crisis against the backdrop of Brexit and Trump’s America, it is an attempt to claim back some agency, some hope and solidarity.
Developed through a series of writing and improvisation sessions, then produced by Redmond and fellow founder/ bassist, Riaan Vosloo (Nostalgia 77, Jamie Cullum), the music is a cinematic fusion of contemporary jazz, fuzzy ambience, synth-hop and psychedelic grooves, courtesy of Vosloo, keys player, Arthur Lea and drummer, Patrick Davey. Guests include vocalists Hannah Williams (Jay Z’s 4:44) and Victoria Klewin, Matt Brown – percussion and Matthew Bourne (Electric Dr M) – strings. Boat Building is mastered by Grammy Award winning, Lewis Hopkin; credits include London Grammar, Bonobo and Dizzee Rascal.
Chris Redmond said, “I’m so inspired to have these amazing writers and musicians on one recording. There is so much crisis in the world, but I always seek solace in music and poetry. I want this album to play a part. Ours may be a small platform, but if we all use our voices, then we amplify the messages that need to cut through and try to create some counter to the narratives of fear, blame and hopelessness that are pumped at us incessantly.”
For over a decade Tongue Fu have built a cult following at their improvised live shows. Writer, musician and founder, Chris Redmond (BBC Radio 1, 2 and 4, Sky Arts), invites poets, comedians, storytellers and rappers to take risks, re-working material live with improvised soundtracks from fleet footed, genre-hopping musicians. No two shows are the same and this approach has earned them critical acclaim at music, poetry and literature festivals across the UK and abroad. Tongue Fu show highlights include the Roundhouse, Glastonbury, Edinburgh Festival, Dublin, Capetown, Rio and a residency at Romania’s Jazz TM festival, with features on Sky Arts and BBC R2’s Arts show with Jonathon Ross. Previous collaborators include Kate Tempest, Irvine Welsh, Akala, Nick Mulvey, Salena Godden, Ty, Lemn Sissay, Hollie McNish and Beardyman.
AMYRA – NYC singer, author and activist – collaborations inc. Robert Glasper, John Legend
Dizraeli – Rapper, singer, producer. His ‘The Unmaster’ was 4th Best Album 2019 Worldwide Awards.
Vanessa Kisuule – Multiple slam champion, theatre maker and Bristol poet laureate
Joshua Idehen – Poet, singer, theatre maker and frontman of Benin City, Hugh and Calabashed
Zia Ahmed – Slam champion poet and playwright – worked with Ch4 and Paines Plough
Rafeef Ziadah – Palestinian poet, academic and activist with 1.5m+ Youtube views.
Anthony Anaxagorou – Groucho Maverick Award winning poet, publisher and director of Outspoken
Kweku Sackey – Ghanian rapper and singer from K.O.G. And The Zongo Brigade
Boat Building will be available digitally, streaming on all major platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon from Friday 27th November 2020.
Vinyl copies (pre-orders) and lyric books (released on 27th November) are available via Bandcamp.