I recently covered Toddler, the proggy indie-rock band from Bristol who expertly adds the missed touch of intellectualism to music that charts have been deprived of in recent history.
Elliot Baxter Photography ©
This week I bring to you one of the band’s key components, Ketibu.
‘I have always used singing as an escape. When I was little, we had barrels that we’d roll down hills in at school. I would just sit inside them and sing because it was resonant… I liked hearing the resonance’.’
She is not the average singer-songwriter. She does not condemn the advances in musical technology and she does not wear a sombre expression of distaste on tired, broken shoulders.
We need all sorts, of course, to keep the musical food chain working but think of the excitement that broke out when chocolate first manifested itself on British shores. Think of how mundane a bar of Cadbury’s has now become (although no less essential).
My point is, singer-songwriters who poetically write of heartbreak and pain are at times what we need to understand ourselves. But when you are ready to climb out of the dark self-absorbed hole of pity, who might you turn too? Well you might turn to Ketibu.
Inspired by the world around her – Laura Marling and mathematical prog-rock – her cheerful personality is captivating not only to speak to and watch on a stage but also to listen to.
She translates herself into clever commentary and chords on the ukulele as an admirable musical ambassador of New Age Folk.
This movement is a big one and is on the same bus as Neo-Soul as they are taking elements of the past and modernising them.
We have the sounds of old folklore songs of ancient times with a glazing of Indie and a spicing of something new and unforeseen.
Ketibu fishtail braids the bores of reality and the colourful world of fantasy into amusing analogies of perfectly tangible feelings and situations that we all experience.
Her open mind creates an open space to relate to music in light hearted way, which is really how it should be. A break in the clouds, rather than overcast shadows.
This isn’t by any means musical comedy, but music that includes comic relief.
Her lyrics are witty and while maintaining the feeling of folk through story-telling, the yarns themselves are more interesting. Out with singletons in dirty bars, in with vampires and intergalactic love affairs.
Brought up around the church, Ketibu has honed the ability to chronicle tales through music and embrace what music can do for a community. She speaks of the song her mother sang to her, Indigo Daisies. From an early age she embraced music, singing with enviable curiosity.
Humour and life go hand-in-hand – if you can throw rhythm into the mix then it’s a win-win situation for anyone lucky enough to be listening.
After all, you cannot sing and be totally unhappy.
I know I keep saying, but I shall say it again. Good musicians listen to what they do, great musicians listen to even that which they don’t.
Heavy metal being (to some extent) the polar opposite to Ketibou’s style, withholds nonetheless certain similarities. The complex rhythms and time signatures of metal she listened to in her teens, have evidently played a part in influencing her new take on folk.
Although the sound is naked and vulnerable, its attitude is much more confident. It explains a feeling that is represented in soulful percussion-esque ukulele playing.
Ketibu has plenty to do this coming year, currently working with Dr Meaker on some exciting projects that will be coming to public light in the (hopefully) near future.
She also has an album planned for the end of the year and an EP for the end of the summer.
Her versatile talent and lust for life will infect you and if you’re lucky, it will be terminal!
Our music industry constantly tries to replicate successful recipes of the past that give us a burst of nostalgic intrigue, followed by an exasperated underwhelmed ‘I have heard this before and it was better the first time’ sigh.
Ketibu is at the forefront of 2017 experimentation, she is taking the sounds of our surroundings and making them musical. It’s not interesting because it’s weird, it’s interesting because it is brilliant.
Dexterous and well executed, keep an eye out for her upcoming fruits and if you are attending the excellent Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire this year Ketibu will be opening the ‘Phantom Washing Machine’ stage!
She is exactly what Britain needs right now – a positive pick-me-up.
Keep an eye out for her live nights in and around Bristol, she can often be tracked at venues such as ‘Hydra Book Shop’ for open mics (silver tongues is a belter).
Of course, we can’t end a British Products interview without some North/South regional banter.
“Scon, or scone Ketibu?
–Scone, scon sounds weird.”
Regardless of pronunciation however, we all add jam and double cream.
There is some info on Shambala Festival here: http://www.shambalafestival.org/2017/act/ketibu/
Tickets have unfortunately sold out but determination and a bit of google grinding can often make the impossible a reality!
https://www.facebook.com/Ketibujazz/ this is her Facebook page which hosts some wonderful organic videos of her music along with latest news and event dates.
And finally https://soundcloud.com/ketibu the all-important SoundCloud, which currently has some cool spacy tracks on there for chilled summer nights.