ART OF FOTTBALL

Illustration: Josh Parkin / joshparkin.co.uk

In honour of the ultimate anti-footballer, socio-political activist and godfather of football cool, DISCO SÓCRATES is an exploration of music culture and its social and political impact around the globe. Anchored around a one-day festival, it will see live performances from artists drawn from the participating World Cup nations, reflecting the power of musical movements to affect change around the globe.

The international line-up includes Nigerian born, Berlin-based soulful jazz vocalist WAYNE SNOW; OKO EBOMBO who fuses beats, Parisian jazz and performance art; Cairo’s ROZZMA will bring his own blend of beats, psychedelia and traditional Arabic music; and Iranian MC GOMNAM, who may be better known to Merseyside audiences under his previous moniker, MC Farhood.

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The festival will also feature DJ sets from some of today’s finest selectors taking us through the 32 nation’s sonic histories. Acclaimed DJ ANDY VOTEL will be piloting this journey as he unleashes the contents of his globe-spanning record bag. On the night he will be performing a Subtropical Psychout set, plucking the best morsels of tropicalia, psych and funk gold from Brazil. Africa Oyé and Anti Social Jazz Club are also joining the party on the decks, taking us all on the trip of a lifetime. Expect Nigerian highlife, Senegalese Mbalax, Japanese shoegaze, Icelandic soundscapes and, of course, Brazilian Tropicália.

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The Disco Sócrates event takes place as part of the summer-long ART OF FOOTBALL programme which runs for the duration of the FIFA World Cup (14th June – 15th July). Taking the creative culture and social fabric which underpins the beautiful game as its backdrop, Art Of Football is a festival of the culture surrounding the game, to coincide with the greatest football festival in the world. Across a series of projects and events, the festival will explore a variety of ideas and debates that show how each facet of the modern human condition can be explored through the prism of the globe’s most beloved sport. Whether it be artistic expression, women’s rights, disruptive politics, people power or populism, football has become an ever more powerful platform and a ‘proxy-theatre’ in which many of the key debates of our times are played out. For a full rundown of the programme of events, head to artoffootball.co.uk.

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Wayne Snow

Snow issued his debut LP Freedom TV in 2017, a project marinated in Afro Caribbean, soulful jazz grooves and topped by Snow’s effortless falsetto acrobatics. As the title suggests, Freedom TV is an album with themes of liberty, struggle and creative identity pumping through its veins. Within ten tracks, Snow fluently meanders between musical styles: from low tempo soothers like album opener Cooler and Fall, to the syncopated bruk of The Rhythm and cosmic funk escapades found on Nothing Wrong.

“Coming to Berlin was a liberation because I could play with many things, especially electronic music, and approach it freely regardless of the fact that I was African,” notes Snow. “Being in Berlin also helped me to fully understand the origin of electronic music which is unmistakably black.”

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Oko Ebombo

When it comes to creativity, Oko Ebombo is no one-trick pony. Raised in the tenth arrondissement of Paris, the multi-talented virtuoso got his introduction to the arts through dance. In the past, he’s held his own photographic exhibition titled Okosexuel and opened the Pigalle AW15 menswear show with his soulful vocals.

Now he serves as the frontman of his band, 19. Started back in 2009, Ebombo’s musical project mixes elements of poetry and movement, and is inspired by “his own life and urban experiences”. Iro and Naked Life are both rooted in jazz, with Ebombo enunciating each lyric with all the flourishes of his beautiful French dialect.

The band’s first music video, Naked Life, self-directed by Ebombo, features hazy shots of the singer wandering the streets at night in a half-black, half-white suit, an effect he later replicates on his own skin. However, this isn’t the artist’s first foray into moving image – under his Vizioneer project, he makes what he calls “visual poetry”. Using a Super 8 camera, Ebombo creates enigmatic shorts – from Ma Chambre Noire, where he’s seen leading a dance troupe, to Moon Dance, where he appears cavorting in the snow.

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Rozzma

The most infectious sound in Cairo right now is that of Rozzma. A few months ago, the video Baby began to circulate, in which the producer appeared behind a golden pharaoh mask. It was immediately apparent that a new sound had been born; a blend of maximalist synths, thick beats, psychedelia and traditional Arabic music, warped and processed using several production filters. His potential was confirmed by the pure adrenaline rush of EP Donya Faka, the first benchmark release on the new label from French duo Acid Arab. Rozzma does everything: program, rap (with Auto-Tune) and produces pure rave hypnosis, with thick bass lines like concrete walls and rhythms that hit you in the stomach, at times not dissimilar to hardcore. He defines his sound as “a mixture of fire truck sirens and a sound system on fire”.

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Gomnam

Gomnam is an Iranian MC who, following a protracted asylum battle with the UK Home Office which included an extended period of incarceration, is currently based in Liverpool, enlightening the city’s music scene with his unique take on beat-driven, grime-infused Persian rap. To hear him bark lyrics in Farsi, the most widely spoken language in Iran, on his explosive EP Tike Tike (as MC Farhood – listen here), is to hear the impotent voice of a generation completely disillusioned with the Iranian status quo. In a staccato, throaty baritone, he spits out lines at speed and with intense ferocity and purpose.

Andy Votel

Finders Keepers co-founder, record hoarder and authority on obscure musical pockets from Trafford to Timbuktu, Andy Votel has forgotten more about music than most of us will ever know. His DJ performances are the stuff of legend, plucking Swedish prögge gems and sticks of Anatolian dynamite from his bag at will as he grooves his way through mammoth sets that are nothing short of an education. Votel will be sticking to some subtropical South American beats for this set as he takes us for a leisurely trip down the Amazon to bask in the finest Brazilian tropicalia. You can get a taste of what to expect with the mix above – and read this interview he did with Oi Polloi about the story behind some of its choicest cuts.

 

Disco Sócrates takes place on Saturday 30th June 2018 at Constellations.

Get in the mood for Disco Sócrates with this mix we’ve prepared below, featuring the artists performing on the night. Tickets are on sale now priced at £10. And keep an eye on artoffootball.co.uk for some further details about audio and visual extravagances to come on the night.

…And just a note on the inspiration for the name of this event. Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, MD, was captain of the Brazil team at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, part of arguably the greatest Brazilian side never to win the World Cup. With his degree in medicine and his outspoken views on global politics, ‘Doctor Sócrates’ was widely regarded as a symbol of revolutionary cool alongside Bob Marley and Che Geuvara. The only person who came close to this kind of recognition in the footballing world was Johann Cruyff, but where Cruyff’s dreams of liberation were largely focused on breaking up the rigid tactical structures on the pitch, Sócrates cast his gaze all about him and confronted global issues that impacted people across the globe.

He used his platform and status as a podium to raise concerns and awareness for injustices that he saw all about him, a stance that modern day footballers would run a mile from. In the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Sócrates carried a series of politically-inspired messages on his trademark headband, ‘No Violence’ and ‘Justice’ chosen alongside more pointed examples: in the opening match his headband’s message read ‘Mexico Stand Tall’, in response to the recent earthquake that had devastated parts of the country; later in the tournament he took to the field with the message ‘Yes To Love, No To Terror’ emblazoned across his forehead, almost certainly as a nod to the USA’s recent bombing of Libya. And while playing for Brazilian champions Corinthians, Sócrates – along with teammate Wladimir – implemented an ideological takeover of the club that was in direct opposition to the ruling military’s enforced concentraçāo of the players. Corinthians democracy helped the country face up to an oppressive dictatorship, and laid the foundations for player power being taken seriously.

We raise a glass to this great footballing revolutionary, keeping his spirit of inclusivity and worldliness alive with an event that represents the cultural vibrancy of the nations participating at this year’s World Cup.

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