Neneh Cherry with RocketNumberNine+

After a hiatus of 18 years, Neneh Cherry released her fourth solo album ‘Blank Project’ in February last year to a wide chorus of high praise for her creative reinvention. Neneh Cherry is a true maverick; that comes through loud and clear in her music.

The album is produced by Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet, and the result is a brooding backdrop that nods to anarchic free jazz, post-punk, sound system culture and the trip hop that she was so instrumental in incubating. Check out Blank Project.

Allergic to the obvious”. This ain’t no nostalgia trip. It’s Neneh Cherry, 2015, raw and vital.

Her story is as enigmatic, fascinating and original as her music, and the chapter we’re all reading on her current renaissance will include a few lines about a Saturday evening slot at GP9.

Neneh’s heart lies in the counter-culture.

She was born in Stockholm, to a painter and textile artist mother, and a Sierra Leonean drummer (indeed the son of a chief). Her stepfather is Jazz icon Don Cherry – who helped raise her so she took his surname – she grew up hanging with Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis, then later on, folks like Talking Heads, Arthur Russell and Allen Ginsberg lived in her apartment building when the family moved to NYC.

She moved out of home at just 16 and headed to London – and began performing with punk bands like Rip Rig + Panic (see them here on The Young Ones), took to deejaying rap records on pirate radio, and shared a Battersea squat with Ari from The Slits.

All of her worlds collided in ’89 with Buffalo Stance and her debut record Raw Like Sushi. That song is classic in every way – and may well have been the first non-American rap hit. She laid a template for what a post-punk/rap/pop/reggae/jazz singer could be. The track Manchild also won her an audience. (She was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 1990 but lost to Milli Vanilli, who later had their Grammy revoked when it was discovered that they had not performed on their recording).

Her second album Homebrew had the who’s-who of that period – Portishead and Gang Starr co-wrote, Biggie did a remix verse and Michael Stipe sang on it. Third album, 1996’s Man included the incredible 7 Seconds (with Youssou N’Dour) and the mighty Woman, her take on James Brown’s It’s A Mans World.

At GP9 she will perform with RocketNumberNine+. It’s a great honour to have her on The One And Only Stage.

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