Josephine and The Artizans' HipHopera: Act IIReview
They’ve just kicked off their 2017 summer festival tour, and Josephine and The Artizans have a new EP to go with it. HipHopera: Act II is a sequel to Act One, and the UK-based group continues to find fun ways of fusing rap and hip-hop with classical voice and instruments.
The band’s headlining name is classically trained singer and songwriter Josephine Permaul, and her Artizans are rappers Jermaine Davidson and Michael Wordley, violinist Tanya Cracknell, cellist Marianne Hardisty, electric cellist Laura Dodds, keyboardist Thom Rowlands, and bassist/producer Debs Spanton.
The three songs on HipHopera: Act II - “What It Takes”, “Invictus”, and “If I Lose Control” - are full of unique rhythmic loops, paired with a raw string sound that’s satisfying; it’s a refreshing change from the purely synthesized sound we often hear in hip-hop tracks. The songs each have a great dose of rhythmic unpredictability, keeping the beats from acting like simple loops.
Above it all, Josephine’s voice soars. Hardcore opera fans may have a tough time with JATA’s almost instrumental use of the voice - its function melodic, a unique ingredient in their music’s texture - yet it’s a testament to JATA’s savvy straddling of classically-inspired songwriting and producing work that has commercial appeal.
“We may be very different in our sound and what we put into the song, however the structure of our song is very commercial,” she said in an interview from 2016. “We want people to be able to listen with ease.”
Their summer tour continues on July 2 at the El Dorado Festival in Ledbury, UK, and continues until Septembe 23 at London’s Hootananny Brixton. Full dates are listed below, and you can stay in the loop by following JATA on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.