BWW Review: FESTIVAL OF VOICE, Cardiff
Cardiff is currently playing host to the Festival of Voice. The event itself is an eclectic programme featuring theatre, cabaret, spoken word, live music and performance art.
Within it there's something for everyone to enjoy, at every time of day. The vibe around the Wales Millennium Centre is popping with enthusiasm as it celebrates its wide array of culture, and despite only going to the city for 24 hours, I certainly managed to catch a lot.
One of the festival highlights was a performances from Manchester duo Children of Zeus and the Icelandic 10-woman strong rap collective Reykjavíkurdætur. The latter spit bars in both Icelandic and English, touching upon themes of feminism, politics and sexual freedom. The soul pairing treats the audience to a selection of hip-hop and soul.
When you really listen to it, you realise the music is weighted with a deeper meaning than first imagined. It's impeccably rhythmic, and the lyricism of the words used really does make you feel a lot of raw emotion. It's a rather cathartic feeling. Sure the alcohol probably helps, but the artist's ability to make the audience have such a visceral experience is a great achievement.
The best thing about it is that the gig goes on until late, meaning you can really have a party. And everyone's up for that to happen. It's brilliant; people are dancing and really vibing to the music.
There isn't a care in the world as the audience allow the sounds to affect them in anyway they want. They sing along, rave and celebrate their freedom brought upon by the atmosphere in the room.
Before that I embarked into the cabaret scene to watch Carys Eleri's LOVECRAFT (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff). It was an intimate yet in your face piece that enquired what the science behind love is. Who knew there was science involved? Well I certainly do now because Eleri told me in such great detail. She provides the audience with a frank education, and tells it via by sharing many anecdotes from her life.
These accounts are witty, humorous, heartbreaking and poignant, and effectively demonstrate how she became the person we see today. The entire aesthetic of the piece is fantastic; it's a kaleidoscopic colour overload, jazzy banners pop up and we're treated with some funky bursts of light. There's also chocolate and audience engagement and so many more delightful things that I could talk about, but I won't, because I wouldn't want to spoil the fun.
What must be said is that Eleri is a hugely talented performer, and not just at comedy; but also at live singing. Her creations are catchy, intelligently put together and delivered with a rooted power that comes from the soul. When her show arrives at the Edinburgh Fringe make sure you see it. It'll sure be one of the highlights of the festival, as it was here in Wales.
The final show I caught was Highway One; an absurdly funny tale about the tribulations of travel, told through fictitious verse and ambitious songs. It's a story of a journey between a variety of different characters, and throughout they all search for a sense of meaning.
Integrating immersive theatre, video technology and musical interludes, this show is a lovely blend of many different mediums, making it accessible for the majority to enjoy. Featuring some wonderful performances and expert creativity, this magical adventure packs more of a punch than you would first expect.
On a complete side note, it needs to be mentioned that the Wales Millennium Centre has some of the friendliest and hardworking crew members I've ever encountered in the arts industry. Their enthusiasm makes you have a great time.
Overall, this is a festival I never knew existed, but now that I do, I'll be sure to pop back next time. Good job, Cardiff!
Photos courtesy of the Festival of Voice