From two thirds of the trio that brought us last summer's Plug n Play comes Unifunked - Music 4 Life, a night of music, food and the good stuff in life all to mark the 10th anniversary of a good cause, Cancer Research UK.
Created By Shahla Karkouti and Consuela Mckensie, Unifunked brought together musicians of all genres in the grungy, artsy yet contemporary venue that is The Islington Metalworks on Saturday 4th February. A space that houses a restaurant, courtyard and performance space. The funky underground vibe was the perfect setting for the night of music ahead.
The only spanner in the "metalworks" was the impending snow, which by the time we arrived was coming down thick and fast! Once we'd thawed we headed to the restaurant or 'The Secret Larder' as was its pseudonym. With news that James Ramsden was in house with a pop up restaurant we were on the scrounge for a *hot bite*. Unsuccessful though we were, the £50 a pop diners were positively radiant and rosy cheeked having scoffed James' delectable 3 course feast. Knowing that every penny was going to Cancer Research they were well within rights to be rosy cheeked - though that was more down to the wine.
The lucky diners were also treated to a wealth of live music. We were just in time to catch 'Elia and the low tears'. A usually 5-man band reduced to 3 (due to the dastardly snow I'm sure) and lead by Jazzman and vocalist Elia. Theirs was a fusion of jazz, soul, pop and funk.
Next up to rock ‘The Secret Larder’ stage were Segunda Geracao. Fronted by Unifunked organiser Shahla Karkouti we first heard their sound at Plug and Play Festival. Segunda G got the party started with their heady blend of rhythms, at times Bossa Nova at others Jazz/Funk and Soul. Diners couldn’t help but get up out their seats and bust a move. The ‘WOW’ moment of this set was an out of this world tambourine solo from Julian Flori, Segunda G’s percussionist. Man can he handle a tambourine lol.
The last act we caught in ‘The Secret Larder’ was the incomparable Kasai Masai. A 5-piece band that marries the traditional sounds that exist in the remote recesses of Congolese villages with more modern urban Afro beat rhythms. The lead singer Voodoo King Nickens Nkoso’s haunting chant was both spellbinding and chilling. The mystical experience was in direct contrast to my musical encounter in the Black room. Read on Hotminuters.
In the Black Room I’ll start off with the unique stylings of Nathan Flutebox Lee and The Clinic. This was beatboxing like you’ve never seen or heard before infact it’s fluteboxing. Yeah you heard me, fluteboxing – beatboxing but through a flute. Pair Nathan with DJ Tigerstyle, human beatboxer WanDan, tabla player Hanif Khan, rapper Skrein, viola player Mike Pagulatos, keyboard player Maquenzie and Matt Constantine on cello and you’ve got a remarkable live act that can’t be compared!
Other noteworthy Black Room performances included rap collective Black Crown and the nameless (I never did catch the name), illusiveness, tiger mask wearing rapper who got the crowd buzzing with his self made beats, aggressive flow and overflowing swag.
Soldiering on through the snow Shahla and her team once again let their passion for music and dedication to charity inspire an incredible live music event. Keep doing your thing ladies!
Stay tuned to what Unifunked have coming up at www.facebook.com/unifunked
Words: Enam G
Photography: Okito Gonzales