Titles of the week #Focus Special Wales – God is in the TV


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From this Thursday, Focus Wales takes over Wrexham for three days of brilliant music and art. So we decided to do a special Tracks of the Week to whet your appetite with tracks from some of the artists playing at the festival. Mwynhau!

TEKE :: TEKE – Kala Kala

Why we love it: While Focus Wales’ focus rightly remains on emerging artists from the Principality, the inclusion of artists such as TEKE :: TEKE affirms the international scope of the event. TEKE: TEKE is from Quebec in Canada and released his first album Shirushi almost exactly a year ago. The record encompasses many disparate musical genres, from Japanese psychedelia to Mariachi, from surf rock to Bulgarian folk, and merges them all into a kaleidoscopic maelstrom of groundbreaking sound.

The first single and opening track from TEKE:TEKE’s debut album is ‘Kala Kala’ and here it is captured in all its live glory at the Festival Trans Musicales in Brittany, France, last December. Infused with a strong oriental vibe, thunderous groove and Maya Kuroki’s distinctive voice, the song positively levitates from the stage. (Simon Godley)

Ava in the dark – Manic

Why we love it: Ava in the Dark are a powerful band based in Leeds, with Welsh roots. Lead vocalist Kiera provides rich yet angelic vocals that clash with big-screen production that merges thunderous dance beats with shimmering synths and shimmering guitar work. The recent single ‘Manic’ is a great example, a new discovery for me, it will be great to see them at the festival this year!

Balimaya Project – Balimaya

Why we love it: Balimaya Project was formed in 2019 by percussionist Yahael Camara Onono. The Balimaya Project uses the repertoire of the Mande peoples of Senegal and Mali as a bridge to bring together West African folk music with jazz and the sounds of Black London, it’s a sound brimming with imagination and undulating percussion instruments , xylophones and horns, its a riot of colors and sounds. It will be fascinating to see them live at this year’s Focus Wales!

The word “Balimaya” comes from the Maninka language and means the essence of kinship. In Mande society, the ideology of kinship is embedded in the moral fabric of its people. Family ties are not limited to blood relations. The concept of extended family created by marriage, cousins, shared history within ethnicities and deeds done for each other. (Bill Cummings)

Hemes – Pretending to smile

Why we love it: Hemes is a songwriter from South Wales with an Eastern heritage, she recently released her debut EP Mind Matters. The EP is a bold window into the thoughts of Hemes meditating on overthinking, anxiety and the search for peace.

pretend to smile‘ marries subtle R&B pop with slick vocal hooks, which detail the difficulty of faking happiness and confidence. It’s an earworm tune that carried a noticeably personal message. (Bill Cummings)

Ogun – 24 Freestyle

Why we love it: We’ll be fascinated to see Newport’s multidisciplinary artist Ogun, first-hand at Wrexham this year. Autobiography ‘24 Freestyle‘ is a beautifully crafted hip hop. Shot through personal, brooding bars over rugged, jerky beats, reminiscent of early Davidit is both powerful and profound. “Every Word Is Priceless / I Don’t Need Dragons Den” spits Ogun, displaying an inner confidence and ambition for how music can change your life, underlined by the melancholic shimmer of growth through struggle, it’s a hugely impressive cut, vividly depicting an artist in full ascent. (Bill Cummings)

Tallies – Rolled up tight

Why we love it: The tallies have captivated me before with their brand of dreamy-eyed pop loaded with melodic worlds. I can’t wait to see them at Focus this year, armed as they are with a string of excellent singles from their upcoming second album. ‘Rolled up tight‘ is urgent and visceral, wrapped in a kaleidoscopic wheel of fuzz and voices consumed by the constant tumult of anxiety and frustration at being with someone who won’t change!

This song is about being stuck in a constantly rotating vicious cycle that makes you want to tear your hair out,“says the Toronto group. “A feeling towards someone who doesn’t care enough to make a change.

It is accompanied by a brilliant psychedelic video created by Christopher Mills. (Bill Cummings)

Art School Girlfriend – Good As I Wanted (Guilia Tess Remix)

Why we love it: An inventive remix by Guilia Tess of Art School Girlfriend (aka Polly from North Wales) track ‘Good as I wanted‘, animates the original hypnotic and reflective qualities, turning them into an electronic tapestry of crackling breakbeats and soaring atmospheric synths. I’ve seen Art School Girlfriend at Focus before and she was excellent, and since she unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute from last year’s event, I’ll be looking forward to seeing her again. (Bill Cummings)

Goat Girl – Badibaba

Why we love it: because it’s a groovy, psychedelic kaleidoscope of keys and wonky harmonies with bass and drums that will get Wrexham dancing. He also collapses into a large swamp of muddy instruments that sound like they’ve picked them up and dumped them in a swamp.

They have a tongue-in-cheek personality that is often incongruous with their music but can just as well suit them. This sets up a potentially chameleon-like live performance in North Wales this weekend. (Jim Auton)

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