Interview: Vula Viel

bex birch

New genre-bending three-piece Vula Viel have already won over Iggy Pop and Gilles Peterson with their deep, grooved-out sounds.

Helmed by classically-trained percussionist Bex Burch, their kaleidoscopic polyrhythms and melodies buzz off the traditional sounds of Ghana, imported by Bex herself after a long stint in the country.

A few years back, she relocated to a rural corner in the Upper West of the country to immerse herself in the crafting and playing of the gyil, a Ghanaian form of balafon made of wood, gourds and string, before returning to the UK with a head full of sub-Saharan inspiration.

Now onto LP number two, Do Not Be Afraid, which we’re excited to reveal is slated for release on 25 January, Vula Viel’s music swoops and soars from UK jazz to eighties’ post-punk and the sounds of Ghana without skipping a beat.

It centres around Bex’s gyil lines, and is augmented by bassist Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Rokia Traore) and drummer Jim Hart (Cloudmakers, Ralph Alessi, Electric Biddle), who bring a rough edge to the band’s sound.

We paid Bex, Ruth and Jim a visit at The Cowshed Studio, North London, to find out how they cooked up the LP…

Preorder Do Not Be Afraid here. Vula Viel play at the EFG London Jazz Festival on 19 November.