An personal account of one of this year's Reading-on-Thames Festival events by Megan Siarey, festival marketing intern.
Reading-on-Thames Festival 2018 began the rainy evening of Thursday 6th September 2018 at Reading's historic Concert Hall. The opening event GRRRL artists were from all corners of the world and came together under the charity In Place of War and guest director Charlotte to create an exclusive music performance for the festival. This electronic affair set the scene for the festival. With so much energy from the performers, it was infectious and got everyone moving by the end.
Described as a "bespoke electronic collaboration featuring revolutionary independent female artists from across the world" GRRRL was brought together by global charity In Place Of War.
"Together, these six influential artists from Brazil, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Bangladesh and the UK have worked with Laima Leyton (Mixhell/Soulwax) to create a studio and touring project that fuses together sounds of dark techno, ghetto bass, hip hop, dancehall, reggae, soul and electronica. For Reading-on-Thames Festival 2018, GRRRL created new musical collaborations under the direction of GRRRL’s musical director Laima Leyton, and guest artist/musical director Charlotte Adigéry (WWWAter). GRRRL is part of In Place Of War’s production work. In Place Of War is a non-profit organisation which supports artists and creative communities living in sites of war, revolution and conflict to build powerful networks, create social change through creativity and bring the value of the arts to public debate. GRRRL at Reading-on-Thames Festival 2018 is supported by PRS for Music Foundation."
The night started off with a set from MABE, a DJ, a key player in the dance and electronic scene in Caracas, and a journalist from Venezuela. Within her music, she draws on her Caribbean and Latin American heritage and relates back the theme of technology and living in a world without boundaries. It was lovely to see people being introduced to a new kind of music that they may not have experienced before.
Wiyaala, known as ‘The Young Lioness of Africa’ performed next. An AfroPop singer-songwriter from Funsi, Upper West Ghana, Wiyaala combines three languages within her songs, her native Sissala and Waale dialects, and English. Her infectious energy started to get people to move, especially with the song 'Africa' that was performed with AWA KHIWE from Zimbabwe. Together, they brought a new type of energy to Reading's historic Concert Hall. After warming up the crowd, the rest of GRRRL joined the stage with so much infectious energy that it was difficult to resist the urge to dance.
It was lovely to see the Concert Hall in use, the diversity and culture that it brought together, setting a fabulous atmosphere for the rest of the festival.
Keep up to date with GRRRL on their social media.
Links to GRRRL music:
GRRRL Debut EP - https://lnk.to/DLYD003
Keep up to date with In Place of War on their social media.