Thursday September 5th 2013 was the night when Cultured Sounds ran their first event to showcase upcoming releases and artists they’ve been working with.  The pre-launch showcase, held at the Star of Kings basement, featured an eclectic blend of live music and DJ’s who combined with great effect to create a warm and friendly vibe.

The night was opened by James from Drum & Bass duo Amoss, performing his first public Hip-Hop set.  His elegant combinations of Jazz-influenced bounce and melodic smoothness eased the crowd into the night, as heads nodded and smiles were shared.  As the Amoss set drew to a close, the stage was prepared for the live show – a one-off performance by Indian tabla master K.V. Balu.  Upon taking to the stage Balu introduced himself and his instruments before giving a solo performance on tabla and kanjira.  The intimacy and friendly feel of the venue combined with the warmth of the music, connected the crowd with the performance, as people were amazed by hearing Jazz played on a tabla!

The set continued, as Balu was joined by sitar player Frank Conway for a classical improvisation.  The hypnotic, progressive sound of tabla and sitar had the crowd in an uplifted state, before drummer Maurizio Rossi joined Balu on stage to play over some world-fusion beats from the forthcoming Sixth Sense & K.V. Balu release on Cultured Sounds.  The live performance went down extremely well and had people talking and smiling as Jabs took to the decks for the intermission.  Time for drinks!

The show resumed with a bang as Raggo Zulu Rebel, the host for the night, stepped straight in to his verse from Jah Nuh Dead, the recently released video and second single from Haan’s The Format EP (Cultured Sounds first release).  Having brought such energy to the night, Zulu performed a few tracks before introducing the Street Souls crew, who raised the energy further.  It was great to see performers having so much fun on stage, which transmitted to the audience who were feeling the multi-lingual rapping, whether they could understand it or not!

As RAX took to the stage it was clear that some had left early as it was a school night, but no matter, he urged the crowd to come closer before delivering a clear and heartfelt set.  The level of clarity was such that you couldn’t help but be drawn in to the concepts and stories of RAX’s music.  It was a special moment, followed directly by one the UK’s underground Hip-Hop kings – Melanin 9.  Known for his conceptual, poetic lyrics and an almost unrivalled intricacy to his rapping, M9 delivered a flawless set which had those in the know, in the zone.  The live music was brought to a close by the hard-hitting poetry of Oracy, who had the remaining crowd enthralled with her performance.

The event felt like the start of a community, a group of music fans, friends and music makers who all share a love of conscious music and appreciate the beauty of multiculturalism.  Seeing so many people meet for the first time and share conversations and jokes was a warming feeling.  Bring on the next one.


Photography by Aimee Valinski

Photography by Aimee Valinski