A long way from simply being another summer music festival, Caught by the River offers one of the most thoughtfully curated lineups available this year, with its location at London’s best-kept secret, Fulham Palace, matched perfectly by acts representing the best in music, arts and the natural world. Ahead of the festival, which runs on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of August, we’ve picked out five artists that show why Caught by the River is looking so special.
Hailing from a North Malian Tuareg community in Southern Algeria, Imarhan present the often overlooked side of the region’s traditional music, blending together the polyrhythmic percussion and drenched grooves of West African funk with the intimacy of Saharan folk music. Influenced by regional peers such as Tinariwen as well as the local flavours that ring out in Algerian soundscapes, the band bring their own modernity to a traditional form, intertwining understated melodies to create a unique form of earthy guitar pop.
Super Furry Animals
An obvious pick given their position as headliners, but an important spot on our list is reserved for Super Furry Animals nonetheless. Psychedelic Welsh rockers with a taste for the bizarre, SFA are a welcome reminder of the good bits of Brit Pop: anthemic vocals and jangly guitars with a healthy dose of fun, but refreshingly devoid of the grating arrogance of a few of their peers from across the border. Whilst Blur and Oasis were fighting each other in the charts and in person, Super Furry Animals were making the freaky pop hits that the mainstream didn’t know it needed.
Kate Tempest in conversation with Miranda Sawyer
Every now and then, a young poet manages to break free from anthology chains and communicate through methods scoffed at by the academics, departing from standard form to engage new audiences. Kate Tempest is a good example. Lyrically exploratory but with firm groundings in the realities of urban life, Tempest communicates her messages with power and precision, cutting through the layers of distracting frills to scratch at the sensitive spots below. Her insightful mind will be explored as she talks to Miranda Sawyer and reads from her new forthcoming debut novel.
Father of Ethiopian jazz, Mulatu Astatke combines the traditional music of his homeland with jazz and latin music awareness developed through musical education in London, New York and Boston. His timeless instrumentals could soundtrack the moonshine masquerades in prohibition speakeasies or sweltering walks through arid deserts, bringing an elegance and mystery to almost any situation. Missing this one would be a big loss for fans of music in general, and a cardinal crime for jazz fanatics.
Demonstrating a more dancefloor-orientated approach than the other acts to make our list, Stealing Sheep might be one of the less well known chapters in Liverpool’s excellent psychedelia history, but they certainly deserve attention. Silky vocals from the all-girl three piece are set to electronic backings which owe gratitude to Krautrock and the twisted synths of Gary Numan. If Cocorosie attempted to make their music even the tiniest bit chart-friendly, it might well end up sounding like this, but it’d be hard to improve upon what Stealing Sheep do best.
Catch these five alongside an inspired selection of bands, brewers, authors, artists and speakers at the beautiful serene location on London’s west side.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Stealing Sheep