A Platform for Ethnically and Culturally Inspired Music


Feb 18, 2023
FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: MAINLY NOT ABOUT THE BRITS https://www.fifty3.net/single-post/fifty3-fridays-mainly-not-about-the-brits

So, the BRIT Awards came and went, providing the occasional high, several lows,
incoherent speeches, silly outfits, a surfeit of alcohol and vacuous answers to
equally dull questions. Last week I wrote about the under-representation of women
in the list of 2022 UK top selling acts, and thereby BRIT nominations, fuelled by
a big gender disparity within major UK record label signings. Fear not, there are
plenty of emerging female artistes who may one day help redress this bias and
again this week’s column is almost, though not quite, fully female populated.

Briefly back to the BRITs, I was pleased that Becky Hill won Best Dance Act and
sorry that First Aid Kit missed out on International Group of the Year. I remain
a tad perplexed by the hype around Wet Leg and sceptical as to whether many of
the songs aired throughout the evening would stand any test of time. Mind you Harry
Styles is one class act and performances by both Lewis Capaldi and Cat Burns kept
it simple and real. When confronted by an enormous list of songwriters for the new
breed of ‘manufactured’ pop songs, I ponder what happened to the classic Goffin-King
style partnerships. According to Sam Smith, “Unholy” is a song about “liberating
oneself from the clutches of others’ secrets.” I’m not sure why it took seven
people to write it. Maybe some of them need to be liberated from the
process themselves.

Now to a name recognisable to Fifty3 Fridays aficionados yet in an unfamiliar
guise. London-based, Tel Aviv-born singer-songwriter and pianist Florie Namir brings
a wonderfully vibrant blend of 1940’s American jazz vocal stylings to her classic
pop music influences. For her latest release, Florie has teamed up with afroelectric
artiste, Franck Biyong. The pair met through the Beyond Music platform founded by
Tina Turner which sets out to connect musicians from all kinds of genres worldwide.
Inspired to create new music, they were quick to produce “Silence Is Music” composed
by Franck who also wrote most of the lyrics, with Florie contributing the final verse.

“Silence Is Music” was put together in just 11 days, taking its creators in different
directions from their usual paths, while integrating their individual styles and
influences. The instrumentation includes parts added remotely by Canadian cellist
Tess Crowther and Argentinian double bass player Lila Horovitz. The song is a gently
hypnotic reflection on conflict and its damaging potential with an underlying message
of hope and relief. It has an organic and airy feel driven by acoustic instrumentation
complemented by African drums and given subtle weight by some choice background
electronic sounds. Vocally Franck and Florie add a serenity and calm to the imagery
of conflict and prepare the way for the note of hope struck in the final verse.