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Barbican announces Cairokee, Beth Gibbons, Arthur Verocai + Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Gruff Rhys

Arthur Verocai performing passionately


Trailblazing Egyptian rock band Cairokee return to the Barbican for the first time in seven years, promising some of the biggest anthems to come out of the Arabic-speaking world. 

Founded in 2003, Cairokee - whose name combines ‘karaoke’ and Cairo, Egypt’s capital - came to prominence after the Egyptian revolution of 2011, with uplifting protest songs such as Sout El Horeya (“The voice of freedom”) voicing the liberatory politics of a generation. Cairokee’s evolving sound has become a reflection of their surroundings and articulates the many elements of contemporary Egyptian society. The five-piece comprises Amir Eid (vocals), Tamer Hashem (drums), Sherif Hawary (guitar), Adam El-Alfy (bass) and Sherif Mostafa (keys).  

This performance will form part of a European tour in which they will debut brand new material, as well as playing their classic hits.  

On sale to Barbican members 7 Feb 2024, on sale to the general public 9 Feb 2024.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Marsm 

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Beth Gibbons 

Singer and songwriter Beth Gibbons (Portishead) returns to the Barbican to perform works from her new album: Lives Outgrown – her first solo album for over twenty years and most personal work to date. 

Gibbons has never talked about the subject matter of any of her songs until now. She has never deployed backing vocals until now. The songs sit where her voice lives now. Lives Outgrown (Domino Records, 17 May 2024) is an album over a decade in the making and the result of a period of sustained reflection and change — “lots of goodbyes,” in Gibbons' words. Farewells to family, friends, even to her former self. These are songs from the mid-course of life, when looking ahead no longer yields what it used to, and looking back has a sudden, sharper focus. Other songs on the record touch on motherhood, anxiety and the menopause (which Beth describes variously as "a massive audit" and "a massive comedown" which "cuts you at the knees") as well as, inevitably, mortality. 

The new album was produced & mixed by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys) and Gibbons, with additional production and contributions from Lee Harris (Talk Talk). Beth initially experimented with Harris on different instrumentations to get away from standard break beats, before Ford joined them to perform a wide a variety of different instruments across the album. In searching for the right drum sound, Gibbons and Harris trialled items from a wooden drawer, to a Tupperware, to tins filled with peas until Harris’ eventual drumkit included a paella dish, a metal sheet, bits of the mixing desk and a cowhide water bottle as the snare. The kick drum was a box full of curtains. And most of it was played with soft timpani beaters. As a result, Harris’s playing is quite undrummerlike: he’s not keeping the beat, he’s playing music that weaves around and through the guitar and vocal. The effect is subtle and beautiful. 

On sale to Barbican members 9am Wed 14 Feb, on sale to the general public 9am Fri 16 Feb. 

Produced by the Barbican 

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Arthur Verocai + Nu Civilisation Orchestra 

The Barbican and Touching Bass are proud to present Brazilian composer, singer, and producer Arthur Verocai with the first-ever UK performance of his seminal 1972 self-titled album with orchestra. Continuing his debut international tour at the Barbican, Verocai will be joined by Nu Civilisation Orchestra to perform the cult record and works from across his career. 

Initially destined for a career in engineering, Arthur Verocai decided at a young age that he would instead dedicate himself entirely to music. Starting out playing bossa nova and embarking on a career as an arranger, Verocai went on to act as musical director for television programmes, and as producer and arranger for other artists’ various albums. In 1972, Verocai released a self-titled album bearing his name and blending various musical styles like samba, jazz, and bossa. The album, featuring Robertinho Silva, Pascoal Meireles, Luiz Alves, Paulo Moura, Edson Maciel, Oberdan Magalhães, Nivaldo Ornelas, and Toninho Horta did not, unfortunately, achieve commercial success. In the 90s however, the album was rediscovered when many used records from Brazilian artists of the 70s made their way to second-hand stores in Europe and the United States, where they were sold to DJs and spread worldwide. The record became a cult favourite after American rappers like MF Doom, Ludacris, and Little Brother began sampling his music. The original LP became rare and highly sought after by collectors.  

The album has been re-released multiple times since and Verocai has gone on to arrange for the likes of Marcelo Jeneci, Ana Carolina, Danilo Caymmi, Sébastien Tellier, Badbadnotgood, Hiatus Kaiyote, Marisa Monte and Tyler, the Creator. 

Joining Verocai at the Barbican are Nu Civilisation Orchestra. Formed in 2008 by Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Tomorrow’s Warriors Gary Crosby OBE, and led by musical director Ben Burrell, the orchestra is earning a reputation as a shapeshifting, cutting edge ensemble. Refusing to be bound by genre or scale, it metamorphoses into a new format as each new project is unveiled.   

On sale to Barbican members 7 Feb 2024, on sale to the general public 9 Feb 2024.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Touching Bass 

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Gruff Rhys  

Singer songwriter Gruff Rhys, best known for his work with Super Furry Animals, returns to the Barbican stage following the release of his latest album Sadness Sets Me Free (Rough Trade, 2024).   

Joined by his band members Osian Gwynedd (piano), Huw V Williams (double bass), Gruff Ab Arwel (Keyboards) and former Flaming Lips drummer turned Super Furry Animals archivist Kliph Scurlock (drums), Gruff Rhys will perform works from the 25th album he has released in a 35-year career both individually, collaboratively, and as a member of various bands. The album is also a follow up to 2021’s Seeking new Gods – his first solo top ten record. Rhys returns to the Barbican after his performance with the London Contemporary Orchestra in 2018.  

In a career that has taken him from the slate-mining towns of north-west Wales, down to the expat communities of Patagonia, up to the Mandan tribe of the Great Plains of North America and across to the Tuareg rock groups of the Saharan Desert, Gruff Rhys, one of Britain’s most beloved and successful singer-songwriters, has always been willing to follow an opportunity, wherever it may lead him. “At this point I quite like working with serendipity,” he says. “Not in a cosmic way, [but] I try and leave things open to chance encounters and chance geography. As I'm around 25 albums in I’m always looking for ways to make a different-sounding record”.  

Abundant here are qualities that ensure you’ll want to keep Sadness Sets Me Free near to your turntable in the weeks after it enters your world” - Uncut  

As with so much of what has gone before, it’s a finely balanced mix of melancholy and joy: heavy subjects and a lightness of touch.” - The Observer  

Rhys is one of our great songwriters” - The Times  

On sale to Barbican members 7 Feb 2024, on sale to the general public 9 Feb 2024.

Produced by the Barbican  

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