Decolonise Fest Moves Online For Week-Long Series Of Events

Established in 2017, Decolonise Fest is an annual non-profit DIY festival, collectively organised by, and dedicated to promoting, punx of colour; something we fully support here at Get In Her Ears. This year, as with most large events in this current situation, they’ve been forced to cancel and so have moved online to create a Covid-friendly version of the festival.

This week, from the 1st to 6th September, they will be hosting a series of workshops, panel events and performances.

Workshops will include a Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club workshop involving tantric breathwork, self-care and martial arts, as well as a workshop on Black and Brown queer world building led by Screaming Toenail vocalist and celebrated artist Jacob V Joyce. They will also host a panel on Global Punx of Colour featuring punks from around the world talking about their local scenes and communities.

In addition to these super insightful workshops, live performances will come from New Orleans no wave glam punks Special Interest, anti-colonial Kenyan punk band Crystal Axis, “South Asian” “American” “Punks” (est. 2006) The Kominas, London-based alt-americana act DeLila Black, electronic synth punk artist PRNCSS and post-punk Netherlands-based act Lifeless Past.

Tickets are free, but donations encouraged. Find more information about tickets and the festival here.

In the absence of any ‘proper’ indoor events at the moment, this online extravaganza from Decolonise Fest sounds too good to miss! We feel that organisations like Decolonise Fest are vital right now; creating spaces that advocate for emerging artists of colour, foster a community of like-minded people, connect punx of colour to global struggles against the legacy of colonialism and indulge in a love of punk together.

Full online Decolonise Fest schedule below:

Tuesday 1st September

Shadow Sistxrs presents: Entering into the Serpent: Dialoguing with Kali

Clem leads us through a journey of Tantric breathwork, bringing us into contact with the Goddess of Revolution, our Divine Mother, Kali. Monique will then teach a few simple martial arts techniques that will allow us to physically embody the principles of power, protection and pleasure.

Wednesday 2nd September

Black and Brown Queer World Building

Join Jacob V Joyce for a workshop mapping the future through collaborative poetry and writing exercises. This workshop draws on speculative fiction writing techniques to facilitate collaborative envisioning of a queer decolonial future.

Thursday 3rd September

Crystal Axis + The Kominas + DeLila Black

Join us for sessions from:

Crystal Axis: Anti-colonial Kenyan punk band

The Kominas: “South Asian” “American” “Punks” (est. 2006)

DeLila Black: London-based alt-americana act

Friday 4th September

Special Interest + Lifeless Past + PRNCSS

Join us for sessions from:

Special Interest: New Orleans no wave glam punks

Lifeless Past: Post-punk Netherlands-based act

PRNCSS: Electronic synth punk artist based in London

Sunday 6th September

Global Punx of Colour Panel

Join Decolonise Fest for a panel event with punx of colour around the world discussing their local scenes, how punk relates to their identity, how BLM has affected their activism and scene and how to create a global punx of colour community.

EP: Self Esteem – ‘Cuddles Please’

Where once Rebecca Lucy Taylor sought your compliments, now it’s a gentler, more tactile, and reassuring contact that she’s looking for. And that change in tone is largely the theme of this EP, which features three versions of songs from her debut as Self Esteem, along with a cover of one of Rebecca’s favourites by Alex Cameron. It would be deceptively simple to dub the songs taken from Compliments Please as ‘stripped-back’ – the majority of the songs feature just vocals, piano and some strings, but there’s still plenty of oomph, especially given that backing vocals are provided by the massed ranks of Sheffield’s Neighbourhood Voices choir.

What’s also striking about the three re-worked tracks is how the change in them reflects the change in mood from the alt.pop bombast of Compliments Please to a minor key here; if not exactly sombre, then certainly more reflective and emotional.

The EP’s art shows Taylor on the set of the video for ‘The Best’, in all-grey sweats, phone in hand, as if to say: “Here’s the artist behind the performer”. And, whereas the single was a quick-fire romp through a love-hate relationship, here it sounds practically elegiac, with its latter half gaining added emotional weight by way of a string quartet. ‘In Time’, meanwhile, has switched from a low-wave neo-pop grower, laced with autotune and artificial beats, to something altogether more spectral and ethereal, with Taylor at her most expressive and its lyrics even more pointed. 

In truth, the change to the majority of ‘Favourite Problem’ is possibly the least dramatic, as it was already one of the rawest songs on Compliments Please. But, as an introduction to this EP, it’s perfect, with its middle eight making perfect use of the delicate harmonies of the choir. 

The closer, a cover of Alex Cameron’s neo-croon celebration of debauchery, ‘Miami Memory’, is the simplest song on the album. That may be because, in Taylor’s opinion, it’s “one of the greatest love songs ever written” – but, where the original has a degree of detachment, this is a pure torch song.

During her days as one half of Slow Club, Self Esteem initially started as an art project, a way for Taylor to find ways to express herself without restriction. And whilst there are plenty of artists for whom the division between art and life is very thin, in the confessional landscape of postWinehouse British pop, it is Taylor’s voice that sounds loudest, and most honestly. What Cuddles Please shows is that, in the intermingling of her professional and personal lives, and amidst her desire to create new ways of making pop music, Taylor is one hell of a songwriting and vocal talent. More of this, please.

 

Cuddles Please is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Taylor has also been busy during lockdown curating digital festival PXSSY PANDEMIQUE, featuring an all-female-identifying lineup of artists, poets, comedians and more, including the likes of NIMMO, Bishi, Little Boots, Helen Bauer, Rozi Plain and many more. The first two have been a huge success, so far raising over £7,000 for Women’s Aid. Of the festival, she explains:

“Before the Pandemic I was pretty annoyed about the discrepancy between male and female acts on festival bills. I had gotten into a dialogue on the internet with some of the replies being ‘… there just aren’t as many women making music as men’ which obviously boiled my brain and made my nose bleed. So anyway Kelli (collaborator and bestie) and I thought why not organise a femme-only festival online in the first few weeks of the lockdown. I couldn’t believe the amount we raised for Women’s Aid and I felt as soon as the government inevitably announced an extension of the lockdown we should do another one…”

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego