The Venus Bushfires (Helen Parker-Jayne Isibor)

 

Biography – The Venus Bushfires

I love to create things. I love to write songs and create pieces of music and perform them. That’s my favourite thing to do in the world. As early as I can remember I’ve always loved being around music and all things creative.

Growing up in Nigeria we would have ‘Family Sundays’ when we would put on singing and dancing talent shows. There are 7 of us (including my parents) so it always felt like we filled up the living room. I was 7 when we moved to London in 1989 and we carried on this tradition.

The Venus Bushfires is a collective of one and many, of which I am the only constant member. I play the hang (a metallic melodic percussive instrument) as well as various African drums. When I perform live I combine various forms of art and I’ve become known for my impromptu performances in unusual spaces. At times I play on stage with my hang, at times with 20 hang players, at times with an illustrator drawing and at times with a guitarist and full band.

I’m inspired by musicians such as Fela Kuti, Kate Bush, Björk, Sun Ra and Gong to name a few. Musically I love to dance between the tribal and the futuristic. As a child my parents encouraged me to sing Nigerian folk songs and at school my friends encouraged me to sing 80’s style rap and synth pop. Actually, the truth about the latter is I felt I had to because I learnt the hard way that anything else would be social suicide. Nowadays I’m really into writing about love and politics, and those are the main recurring themes of these works.

I’m currently working on my second album and I hope to have completed it by the end of 2011. My first was ‘Foolosophy’, which I released in 2007. I’ve been writing this album for a few years. Initially, I wasn’t sure what I was writing, I just kept writing. I was inspired to write ‘Love Our Lovers’ while on a long walk in Big Sur (California), ‘We Came In Peace…’ on a lazy afternoon in the company of the Nigerian sun, and various others on rowdy evenings with friends (and strangers) in pubs and all sorts of different places with merry people.

For this album I’ve recorded songs with James Lewis (Cajun Dance Party, Arctic Monkeys) and Richard Olatunde Baker (percussion for Tony Allen and Mulatu Astatke), Andrew Theakstone (Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) and I recorded songs for new Play Station 3 game Okabu.

The main thing I wanted to do with the creative process this time was to challenge myself to be more open and honest about my feelings and the things that are important to me and to make time to participate fully in every aspect of my life and with the people in it. I want to exist consciously and fully.

The Venus Bushfires – Free

Behind the scenes film – Making the music for new PlayStation game Okabu

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