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The Key Studio Sessions: Kingsley Ibeneche

When we first met Kingsley Ibeneche, he was dancing.

More specifically, he was onstage backing Kate Faust and her sensual electronic rock with impressive poise and fluid motion. The Camden artist, who studied ballet at University of the Arts and spent a few years after school practicing modern dance in Germany, has always been an interpreter of music, the vehicle that a current of music sets into motion. But the more time he spent around it, the more he began to absorb and incorporate music directly into his practice. This year, Ibeneche debuted with CHi, an eclectic EP that serves as a fine introduction to him as a singer and songwriter, an interdisciplinary artist. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Kingsley Ibeneche will play The Barnes Foundation’s College Night

Kingsley Ibeneche | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Experimental artist Kingsley Ibeneche is set to play The Barnes Foundation’s third annual College Night, in partner with Campus Philly, on October 19th. Throughout the month of October, The Barnes will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of their move to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a series of events that reflect the Barnes Foundation’s commitment to community engagement.

Kingsley Ibeneche is no stranger to performance: he’s trained professionally in ballet from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and soon after graduation he pursued a modern dance tour through Europe. He’s appeared onstage with Kate Faust as a dancer, but as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter, has begun performing his own material lately as well. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Discoveries of 2017

Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music discoveries from the past 12 months.

Earlier today, I was listening to a conversation with Johnny Brenda’s talent buyer Chris Ward on the 25 O’Clock podcast, and he made a very interesting point. The bumper crop of musical talent in Philadelphia, or what is often perceived as such, is no sudden phenomenon. It’s not as though, pre-2006, the city was in some dire straits or a lesser creative state, and has subsequently grown and evolved to the present-day bursting of the proverbial seams.

The truth is that amazing music — rap music, rock music, pop music, soul music — has always existed in the 215; in many cases (the Gamble & Huff era), it’s downright thrived. But as Ward pointed out, a more recent confluence of factors and persons and places and institutions over the past decade (like him and JBs, I might add, or like our friends at The Deli and Jump, or like countless others) have helped amplify the scene tremendously.

Every year around this time, as we launch into The Key’s annual year-in-review extravaganza, I begin by sitting down and reflecting on the new artists and new-to-me artists who, over the past twelve months, have knocked me sideways. There have always be artists like this, whether or not the outside world is paying attention. And there always will be; even if, at some point, the zeitgeist declares Philly to be “over,” if you look and listen, you’ll find them continually creating, somehow, somewhere.

Continue reading →

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Grandchildren and Vessna Scheff benefit shows to support Big Picture Alliance and Aspiring Young Artists

Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist
Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist

Grandchildren‘s Aleks Martray has teamed up with fellow Philly musician Vessna Scheff to put together a short series of benefit shows. In a fundraising effort for local youth film and music programs, the two artists have assembled a variety of local musicians to perform at Boot & Saddle on November 16. The second show, November 17 at Warehouse on Watts, will feature youth films and musical performances. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via facebook.com/AgainstMe

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kate Faust at Silk City, Big Thief at Chameleon Club, The Avalanches at The TLA and more…

kate faust
Kate Faust | photo via artist’s Facebook

Bouncing back to Philly after an LA sojourn, Kate Faust will perform at Silk City tonight. The electro R&B / pop musician released a new batch of songs called Capsizing earlier this year; watch “Your Body(Breaking)” from the EP below. Tickets for the 21+ show with Kingsley Ibeneche and Jacqueline Constance can be found here.

Continue reading →

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Koof & Vessna debut recording collaboration with music video for “Echoes”

koof & vessna
Koof & Vessna | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Koof & Vessna are two talented local artists who have teamed up for a new collaboration, sharing their debut single and music video “Echoes” this week. Koof Ibi can usually be found behind the camera at the Random Tea Room Sessions or behind the horn in West Philadelphia Orchestra; Vessna Scheff is a singer-songwriter with crystal clear vocals and a trusty ukulele. Together, the pair create an atmosphere of soulful, reflective solitude.

Continue reading →

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Kate Faust vibes out uptown in the otherworldly “Your Body (Breaking)” video

Kate Faust | still from video
Kate Faust | still from video

Philly electropop singer and producer Kate Faust has been hanging out a lot at Germantown’s heralded Rigby Mansion lately. Over the past several years, it’s become one of the best music and arts hang spots uptown, hosting gigs ranging from intimate and folky to odd and experimental.

It’s clearly made an impression on Faust, who today released a new music video set entirely on the grounds of Rigby. With psychedelic and surreal direction by Koofreh Umoren (of Random Tea Sessions and West Philly Orchestra fame), the video features dancer Kingsley Ibeneche, who’s appeared onstage and in previous videos with Faust. Here, the two interact indoors and out, sharing moments of stunning sensuality amid plumes of brightly colored smoke.   Continue reading →

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Recap: Stylish vibes with Kate Faust and more at MilkBoy

Kate Faust | Photo by John Vettese
Kate Faust | Photo by John Vettese

Over at MilkBoy last night, an all-local bill brought out an eclectic but seamless assortment of vibes, capped off with a headlining set by Kate Faust. The versatile vocalist’s latest offering – the recent Crucial Companion EP – finds her exploring mood-setting electronic tapestries (check out her recent Key Studio Session), held together by a solid groove. Live, it comes across partly R&B, party ethereal art-pop with the help of her two backing musicians, Jonathan Colman on bass and Justin Lee on drums. Last night was Faust’s first Philadelphia appearance in a few months, and the co-star of her recently-released video – dancer Kingsley Ibeneche – joined her onstage for the song “Crucial Companion.”

Preceding Faust was another groove-based electronic outfit, Elegant Animals, whose snappy set was at some points smooth and subtle like Bon Iver, at other points all-out emotive a la Drake. They’re currently wrapping up their debut full-length at Philly’s HeadRoom Studio, but their debut EP Spectrum Nocturnal is available for free download at Bandcamp. Opening the show was singer-songwriter Vinchelle Woods, who was once upon a time Faust’s vocal partner in Toy Soldiers. “Usually I’m just singing,” she deadpanned after her opening “Side A / Side B.” “Recently I decided to add a guitar. It’s going okay.” Despite her grumblings about callouses, Woods’ set was great, a breezy mix of acoustic folk and jazzy chord changes in the vein of Joni Mitchell. Mixing alongside her originals were covers of Fleet Foxes and Feist, and while her recorded output is sparse right now, this set was a promising sign of things to come. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Venture into the woods with Kate Faust’s new video for “Crucial Companion” (playing Milkboy Philly on 9/14)

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 12.15.46 PM

Kate Faust has shared a haunting and pastoral video for the title track of her debut EP Crucial Companion, filmed in her hometown of Denver, PA and directed by Neglakay Productions.  The video features dancer Kingsley Ibeneche as the “companion” opposite Faust’s mystical spirit animal and shows the pair performing a choreographed dance in the foggy, ethereal woods of Central PA.  Though it is beautiful to just watch, the video has a much deeper meaning and connection to the lyrics of “Crucial Companion” than what is communicated visually.  From Faust:

The contrast of me being covered up vs. him being bare, his wearing color
vs. my white lace… it all lent itself to the what “Crucial Companion”
represents… the extremes that require each other so that wholeness can
begin.  “Thorn in my side/joy of my life…”  the words to this song are
a gift that just fell into my lap.  I’m still trying to understand them
myself, but I think the visual we have created is a very good start.

Watch the video below and listen back to Faust’s performance of the song for her recent Key Studio Session here.  She’ll be at Milkboy Philly on Saturday, September 14th with Elegant Animals and Vinchelle Woods; tickets and information can be found here.