Bido Lito!: Liverpool Redefined

Bido Lito! is a Liverpool-based music magazine. This article is taken from their latest issue, From Liverpool with Love. Words by Matthew Wright.

The series of commissions put together for this year’s Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF), which take place in various venues across Liverpool from 20 – 24 July 2016, celebrate artists, music and projects that have redefined, and still are redefining, music in the city, while having a wider cultural impact.

Whether it is through acts that redefine the global musical zeitgeist or the city's continual rebirth in maintaining a vibrant and vivacious music culture, the lens of 'redefinition' seems an appropriate one through which to take a look at Liverpool's musical tradition. This year’s LIMF Presents series bring us a number of projects that connect our city's new UNESCO Music City status with other musically significant cities around the world, coming together to explore each city's musical histories.

“We are celebrating the fact that our city loves music – whether it's diverse, cultural, new or well-known,” says Yaw Owusu, curator of LIMF’s music programme, which also encompasses a series of events that go beyond performance to bring some of the city’s hidden stories to life. “With a calendar full of outdoor concerts, club nights, intimate showcases and exclusive after-shows, we are authentically spanning the true breadth of musical genres and cultures. This is what makes LIMF inherently different from any other festival: we’re reflecting this city's true and ever-changing musical DNA.”

The world-renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra return to the large, leafy Sefton Park in the heart of the city to open up LIMF’s flagship free Summer Jam live shows, with a classical tribute to the Liverpool-born songs that have resonated the world over and irreversibly redefined pop culture in doing so. The Music City: Reimagined performance takes place on the Central Stage and will feature Liverpool's pre-eminent classical outfit's orchestral re-imaginations of songs from Cilla Black, The Beatles, The Real Thing and Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

National treasure Gilles Peterson curates and presents the opening event of the series, entitled From The Soul. The event explores the genre-defining sounds of British soul music over the past 30 years, and where Liverpool fits in to that story. The evening features a special, one-time house band collaborating with key artists from across the British soul spectrum, such as Incognito, Omar, Carleen Anderson and Merseyside-educated Ady Suleiman.

50 years ago, before the advent of punk, Millie Small’s My Boy Lollipop reached number 1 in the UK charts and introduced reggae to the British mainstream. UK settlers went on to bring their own unique brand of reggae and reshape the global image of the genre. Between Lover's Rock, roots reggae and vocal reggae, the sound left a considerable imprint on the music scene.

The LIMF Presents commission Roots, Rock, Reggae sees award-winning BBC Radio DJ and Grammy-nominated reggae producer Seani B curates a collaboration between British reggae artists who have helped to shape the history of the genre. “Reggae has brought many amazing moments to the music scene in the UK, and continues to do so,” states Seani B. “I'm pleased that some of my talented illustrious friends will be joining me in Liverpool – from the son of an icon, Christopher Ellis; the queen of Lovers Rock, Caroll Thompson; to a man who has helped push the sound of reggae to bands such as Damon Albarn's Gorillaz, Sweetie Irie; and the sound of the new generation, Kiko Bun.”

The LIMF Presents 2016 series offers a varied, in-depth programme of events that reanimate various aspects of Liverpool’s rich musical heritage.