Ja Ja Ja will team up with The Great Escape Festival in March, to bring three brand new, totally brilliant new Nordic artists to London!
The first Ja Ja Ja of the year kicked off with a bang, and we can’t wait to do it all over again in March! This time we’re teaming up with one of our favourite UK festivals The Great Escape, who are known to be one of the best events in Europe at which to discover new bands. Showcasing the world’s finest new music, the festival transforms the bustling seaside town of Brighton into a mecca for music lovers and performing musicians year after year.
Handpicked by the TGE team, we are delighted to announce that our March night will be filled with performances by some of the finest new Nordic artists; Denmark’s pop gem Soleima (DEN), abstract electro-pop trio aYia (ICE) and sensational singer-songwriter Ronya (FIN). Get acquainted with the full line-up below, and we’ll see you at The Lexington on Thursday 30th March!
Ja Ja Ja x The Great Escape Proudly Present:
Soleima | aYia | Ronya
Thursday 30th March 2017 – 7:30pm ’til late
The Lexington, Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB
Photo: Dennis Morton
Danish pop artist Soleima is back with her new single “Breathe (feat. Hoodboi)”, the latest from her debut EP “No. 14” which is out on April 21st on Parlophone / Warners. The track epitomises Soleima’s sound; her unique vocal and infectious melodies wrapped up in slick pop production.
Soleima made marks in the underground music scene with her single “Wasted”, which was released this past summer and followed on from . With remarkable and fragile vocals and melodies, combined with organic beats and inspiration from Sukumaland song tradition after living in Tanzania, her music is offers a unique and irresistible combination. Having worked with producer John Calvert (Nao, Ghost Poet) on her previous single ‘Cracks’, Soleima now returns with Soleima is back with her new single “Breathe (feat. Hoodboi)”, the latest from her debut EP “No. 14” which is out on April 21st on Parlophone / Warners.
“’Cracks’… is a brisk, buoyant return – laden with energy, it’s a snappy, intelligent pop gem.” – Clash Magazine
In English, bands are usually referred to as the plural “they.” But when it comes to aYia, “it” feels more appropriate. The band’s sudden appearance in October 2016 felt like the arrival of a new entity – or the discovery of a new place – more than the launch of a project by three individuals. It materialised quietly, as if out of nowhere, the faces of the people behind the music shrouded beneath hoods and hidden in shadows. The presentation felt purposeful, and it was immediately apparent that aYia was something with a personality all of its own. With the recent release of ‘Ruins’, 2017 is proving to be an exciting year.
“Ruins” pulls back the curtain on the landscape aYia occupy: it’s a vast and expansive wilderness of sound and voice, intelligently channeled into a singular musical vision.” – The Line of Best Fit
Somewhere in the outskirts of a small town in the south of Finland, Ronja Gullichsen wrote songs in her bedroom, and secretly trained her voice with downloaded instrumental tracks of Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera and Beyonce songs.
From the age of 14 she performed original songs along with jazz and R&B covers at local venues in her hometown and Helsinki and at 16, she recorded a demo with the help of a family member and landed a deal with Warner Music Finland.
Having made her debut in 2012, she then joined the independent Finnish record label Cocoa Music and released a string of singles and the album Tides. She is now finishing up a collection of new songs due to be out in 2017.
Soleima has cast an enigmatic and hypnotic spell with the handful of tracks that she’s introduced over the course of the past year. ‘Breathe’, ‘Cracks’, ‘Wasted’ and ‘Once Was’ have presented an artist with a singular take on pop which is it once immediately engaging and fascinatingly off-kilter.
The Danish musician’s heady cocktail of pitch-shifted synths, R&B, future bass and an undercurrent of world music is already something quite apart from the pack, but her vocal – simultaneously otherworldly, childlike in its innocence and sweetly sensual – elevates her individualistic style to another level.
While her tracks are skewered heavily towards the kind of modernist pop in which easy genre classifications lie just out of reach, Soleima’s own story is similarly unconventional. Raised in Aarhus, a city on the Jutland peninsula, Soleima grew up in a family home soundtracked by classic soul and R&B, notably Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding. Her subsequent gateway into the world of The Beatles came with ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, a song particularly notable for George Harrison’s pioneering reversed guitar solo.
So far, so normal? Pretty much. Yet that’s only a snippet of the tale. Soleima’s mother took her to an African dance camp which operated as a cultural exchange between Denmark and Sukumaland in Tanzania, and she soon became enamoured with their music – especially with their collection of traditional African drums such as the sikulu. As a young adult, she moved out to Sukumaland for two extended spells, and even organised a grant to allow some of their members to live and teach in Denmark. She subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, did field work in Nepal and started to make a documentary about migration in Senegal.
That open-mindedness informed Soleima’s first music project Flødeklinikken, a Danish-language hip-hop septet inspired by A Tribe Called Quest and the Wu-Tang Clan. Formed as teenagers, the collective released two albums with Soleima on keyboards and – when needed – on vocal hooks too.
Fast forward to 2017, and Soleima’s debut mini album ‘No.14’ arrives, which compiles her four recent tracks alongside three new productions in the shape of ‘Mascerade, ‘My Love’ and ‘This Life’. Soleima’s lyrics are dualist and border both hope and melancholy – “They deal with the ambiguity in wanting to run away and hide from the world, but at the same time feeling guilty because you have this opportunity when others don’t”.
Ultimately Soleima’s unique trait is in united disparate styles – cutting-edge productions with an immediate pop core, and relatable lyrical themes which simultaneously explore societal issues and the very meaning of what it is to be human. “Political pop is quite unpopular,” she sighs, “but I think it’s important to bring it back somehow. The whole challenge is to present it in a way which connects with people.”