On the right tracks

Cross The Tracks festival is lining up another captivating celebration of soul, jazz and funk for Brockwell Park, London, on Sunday, May 26, 2024 writes Claudia Lee.

The first names announced include Canadian outfit BADBADNOTGOOD.

The ensemble made their name by crossing genres. Their seamless movement between style won them a secure fan base when they drew hip-hop into jazz.

Formed in 2010, the band is made up of Alexander Sowinski on drums, Chester Hansen on bass and Leland Whitty on guitar and woodwinds.

Their most recent album, Talk Memory, includes guests like the iconic Brazilian producer and musician – Arthur Verocai – focusing on collaboration and improvisation.

Other big names announced include 1990s R&B group, En Vogue who need no introduction given their longtime chart and Grammy success, jazz and hip-hop inspired trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi, American rapper Eve, and singer-songwriter Ama Lou.

Beginning songwriting at the age of 11, Ms Lou burst onto the scene with her first single TBC in 2016, catching the attention of artist Drake who cited it as one of the main influences for his 2018 album Scorpion.

Her following EPs DDD, Ama, Who? and At Least We Have This Now showed the depth and quality of her sound as well her ability to play with genre and it’s no different for her debut.

Patience from her most recent album, I Came Home Late, is an unexpected love letter to grunge that originally came from a freestyle during a random show rehearsal.

She said: “I am a heavy grunge fan, but it’s not something I ever thought that I could put into my music.

“But I don’t think you should turn away or turn your nose up at any kind of possibility of what a song can be. If you leave enough space, songs nearly always show you exactly what they are.

“That’s how I attacked all of them and I think that’s why this album sounds completely different from my music prior.”

The silky vocals of Jalen Ngonda will bring the spirit of Marvin Gaye, plus Indian-born multi-instrumentalist Jitwam, dub and reggae sound system favourites Dennis Bovell and Channel One are all set to take the stage.

One to watch is Mansur Brown – a classically-trained guitarist, singer and songwriter.

Born in Brixton, and still a resident of South London, Mr Brown’s distinctive sound blends his staple flamenco-influenced guitar with some of his own original production work, informed by the swing of Afrobeats with melancholic undertones.

He said: “Sometimes my music has a club feel, other times it’s more introspective.

“But running through all of it are feelings of happiness, of gratitude. I want it to feel rejuvenating.”

Cross the Tracks has more than just music scheduled, with a creatives’ market, workshops by charity partners, site art and more than 50 food and drink traders.

Get tickets at www.xthetracks.com.



Picture: Ama Lou, BADBADNOTGOOD  and Ife Ogunjobi Pictures: Cross The Tracks

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