Drawing on backgrounds as various as clowning, dance, theatre and live art, the Birmingham-based sextet, Kiriki Club (the name inspired by Les Kiriki, a film from early 20th century, by the experimental film-maker Segundo de Chomón) , embrace a wealth of exotic world music influences on their self-titled debut. Featuring Sam Frankie Fox on lead vocals, with Marti Gillespie on double bass and guitar, Katie Stevens from the Bonfire Radicals on sax and woodwinds, Genevieve Say on percussion, Joelle Barker on drums and hand percussion and Ricardo Santos Rocha playing guitar and melodeon, they open in country swing style with ‘Liquor’, which should slip down easy for anyone into Hannah Johnson and The Broken Hearts before launching into the energetic Portuguese Fado of ‘Tenho-me Persuadido’ and then switching to acoustic guitar and French for the shuffling jazzy Latin cum Gallic rhythms ‘Monsieur’.
It’s back to English for the lush, rippling orchestral exotica sultry ‘That’s Where We Are’, featuring violin, viola, cello and vibraphone with Fox showing off quivering soprano on a number that recalls the work of fellow locals The Destroyers with whom both she and Stevens have played. Then country makes a return for ‘Simple Song’ with its appropriately simple strummed guitar and crooned harmonies matching the romantic sentiments, the mood shifting to more melodramatic tones for the moody, slow swaying reimagined Welsh anthem, ‘O Gymru/Ar Lan Y Mor’, respectively a version of a Welsh male voice choir composition (O Wales) and an original arrangement of traditional Welsh lyrics (By The Sea), sung, naturally, in the native tongue even if there’s a dash of Piaf to Fox’s delivery.
Diatonic accordion and trumpet add vibrancy to the jaunty ‘Mi Corazon’ which serves Tejano music with a rockabilly twist, the band heading into the final stretch with the Portuguese sung mazurka-like scurry of ‘Insisto’, based around a poem by the late Portuguese singer songwriter José Afonso, with its clarinet trill and ‘bomp bomp’ backing vocals bridge. As befits any self-respecting folk out, they have a murder ballad in the form of the trumpet embellished tango-tinged lover’s revenge ‘Waiting For You’, Fox hitting the high notes, ending, in kindred spirit and again conjuring Johnson, with the lazing, sax-stroked lilting vintage ballroom jazz swing sway of ‘I Hate You’ complete with background crowd chatter. They’ve already established a formidable live reputation and this terrific, musically multi-faceted debut can only add to the lustre.
Artist’s website: www.kirikiclub.com
‘That’s Where We Are’ – official video: