Sun 28 Mar
LEAFCUTTER JOHN: BRIGGFLATTS REWIRED
+ Peter Finch
+ Hannah Silva
Stoke Newington International Airport | £6.50 adv / £8 door | 7pm
“Brag, sweet tenor bull…”
Intrepidly inventive folk, jazz and electronic musical inventor Leafcutter John decodes epic Modernist poem Briggflatts for the digital century in a brand new commission.
Briggflatts Rewired takes Basil Bunting’s extraordinary and intensely musical poem as the starting point for a new, electronically-enhanced composition. In an event that explores the interplay between sound, voice and textuality, Leafcutter John is joined by acclaimed Welsh poet and performer Peter Finch, haunting Highland musician MacGillivray and startlingly effervescent wordsmith Hannah Silva.
Born in 1900, Basil Bunting was imprisoned as a conscientious objector, lived in Persia as a British spy in the 40s and later worked as a journalist in his native North East. Briggflatts, a poetic autobiography which celebrates the culture and language of Northumbria, was published in 1966 and belatedly announced Bunting as one of the great Modernist poets alongside T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.
A member of Mercury-nominated avant-jazz collective Polar Bear, Leafcutter John is a multi-talented musician, songwriter, remixer and artist whose work marries the best cadences of folk with the expressive utility of samples, mixing and field recordings. He has released four albums, the latest of which is The Forest and the Sea (Staubgold Records), and builds many of his own electronic instruments from scratch.
Peter Finch is a Welsh writer and critic who is famed for his declamatory poetry performances. An expert on the arcane and obscure corners of twentieth-century poetry, dada and the history of the small press, in the 60s and 70s he toured with sound poet Bob Cobbing. More recently he is known for psychogeographic investigations of Cardiff. He has published more than twenty-five books of poetry.
MacGillivray sings haunting tales from the frontier, of wolves and hunters, love lost in the wilderness. A favourite on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and The Verb, her album Wolf is inspired by the strange lurch of Gaelic ‘lining out’, drawing on words by Robert Burns and Hugh MacDiarmid. MacGillivray has supported The Fall and performed alongside the writers Iain Sinclair, Brian Catling and Alan Moore.
Hannah Silva is a writer and performer whose distinctive style combines the physicality of theatre with energetic, fast-paced poetry. Her recent works include You Said/I Said with percussionist Alexis Kirke; Panopticon, a darkly humourous investigation of language, belonging and Britishness; and Boat on the Water, a poetry/dance/theatre performance set on a yacht in Plymouth.
“Alongside Aphex Twin and Bogdan Raczynski – Leafcutter John is one of the UK’s most fearlessly inventive electronicists”
– Time Out
“The finest long poem to have been published in England since T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets”
– Cyril Connolly on Briggflatts
“The man is like Alka-Seltzer. His words (and sounds) fly at you and fizz in your face. Breathless and manic with dramatic pedigree, and funnier than most stand-ups.”
– John Elcock, Roundyhouse on Peter Finch
“A song to rival Mark Hollis for sadness and bleakness.”
– Fiona Talkington, Late Junction on MacGillivray
“One of the most ambitious and entertaining poets in the country”
– The Times on Hannah Silva
Briggflatts Rewired is a London Word Festival Commission and is presented with the kind permission of The Basil Bunting Estate, Bloodaxe Books and Stream Records