Autumn Music Preview 08 - Cibelle
In the mix
Madder than Goldfrapp and funkier than Santogold, meet Cibelle, London’s brightest and most innovative musical talent. Camilla Pia meets a woman still suffering for her art
‘Basically Tarzan makes love to Shirley Bassey but they’re in a threesome with a hula girl,’ laughs rising electro folk starlet Cibelle from her East London abode. ‘They have been kidnapped by a UFO from the 1950s and are plonked in the jungle. Monkeys control their thoughts and everyone wears leopard skin swimsuits and martian capes and has Bettie Page fringes and listens to dancehall.’ What are we talking about? Her forthcoming third album of course. ‘I don’t just sit around writing. I usually work with a concept that enters my mind before I start recording, and that is the world that came to me for these songs.’
If you think this is a little off-kilter you should try spending just a few minutes in the company of this talented, eccentric and utterly charming chatterbox. Claiming to have the ‘attention span of a flea’, Cibelle was born in Sao Paolo and from the age of five dabbled in guitar, piano, percussion, theatre, acting, physical comedy and 40s jazz – which she discovered in her late teens – recording her debut aged 20 and moving to Paris for a few months before finally settling in London.
Her life has been a whirlwind thus far – ‘I feel like I belong everywhere and nowhere’, she says – and it has allowed her to pick up a wealth of varied musical influences (exotica, rockabilly, gypsy songs, electronica and Hawaiian are just a few cited today) and to develop an unquenchable thirst for creative experimentation.
‘I live in a house with seven artists and I’m constantly calling people over to record with me.’ Who has visited recently then? ‘Gabriel from Metronomy, Johnny Flynn, Hot Chip, Adem, Josh Weller and Dev Hynes – they’re all going to be on the album in some way,’ she adds.
With a mini-tour of the UK planned for this month, is this same collaborative and eccentric approach to music-making applied to the singer’s live performances? ‘If you’ve only heard the record you would expect the shows to be pretty quiet and melancholic but they’re not at all. When I go on stage I get quite wild and noisy and I get special guests to perform with me and ask people in the audience to shake things, make noises and sing along. I think an album is a line you dance around live … oww!’ Cibelle has banged her head on a table, while scrabbling around on the floor for a phone charger. Are you OK? ‘Oh yes. To be honest I am not at all interested in reproducing my records on stage, I like experiencing the different flavours. You never know what you’re going to get with me and I don’t either.’ Indeed.
Tolbooth, Stirling, Sat 20 Sep; Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Sun 21 Sep.