NEWS: Anna Calvi announces UK and European dates

NEWS: Anna Calvi announces UK and European dates

I speculated in “Albums to look forward to in 2018” that we might get one, at last, from Anna Calvi and there is mounting evidence to support that, not least from the announcement of a short European/ UK tour in June. Calvi doesn’t tour without new material.

These will be the first live performances from the twice Mercury-nominated Anglo-Italian Londoner (and she should have won on both occasions) since August 2016. In the interim Calvi has suffered, on her own admission, from writer’s block, going walkabout and at one stage decamping to isolated coastal rented accommodation to help clear it.

However, towards the end of last year long-time collaborator, Mally Harpaz let it be known in an interview that a new Calvi album was all but done and dusted and that she was working on how to accommodate her own schedule with the tour that would accompany it. Meanwhile, Anna Calvi posted herself on Facebook, “All I can do is (to) wear what I create like a coat to cover me and protect me, and the deeper I fall into its arms the better it holds me. I can’t risk rushing what I love, but I hope when it finds you, this music I’m making might give you something. I’m very close… See you in 2018”.

One thing Calvi has been occupying herself with is opera. Last year she wrote the musical score for ‘The Sandman’, which premiered in, but never moved out of, Germany. It starts up again in June, in Düsseldorf and Antwerp. Written by Robert Wilson, the 75-year old American experimental director and playwright who has been described as the world’s foremost avant-garde theatre artist, it fell somewhere between opera and theatre play and dealt with such lightweight matters as hallucinations, post-traumatic stress and castration. The themes have turned up regularly in popular culture in work by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), Roy Orbison and even in Hellboy.

Actually, that’s hardly a surprise. Several of the tracks on both Calvi’s eponymous first album and on ‘One Breath’ had a distinct operatic flavour to them (check out the title track to ‘One Breath’ below or ‘The Bridge’ for example) while Anna has always looked to be at home when working with The Heritage Orchestra and other assorted orchestras and choirs at “special shows” in London and at the Edinburgh Festival.

So it remains to be seen how that experience influences her new album and the staging of her supporting live shows.

The composition of her band isn’t yet known. For her ‘One Breath’ tour performances in 2013/14 she relied heavily on her old stalwart Mally Harpaz, a multi-instrumentalist to whom Calvi refers as her “orchestra”, and who pretty well plays any instrument the boss asks her to. While Harpaz has branched out on her own latterly, also in various combinations with other artists such as Hazel Idris, it would be astonishing if she didn’t feature. We could also witness the return of keyboardist Glenn Callaghan. The percussionist role is the one with a question mark looming over it. Calvi has employed several since the shock departure of Daniel Maiden-Wood just before the ‘One Breath’ tour was scheduled to commence in 2013. Calvi really needs dextrous big hitters like Maiden-Wood to keep pace with her high-speed guitar work; wimps need not apply.

‘Love Won’t Be Leaving’ – early performance in Paris with the original band featuring Harpaz and Maiden-Wood, and an extended guitar solo:

The three show dates announced so far are Berlin (12th June), Paris (15th June) and London (Heaven) on 19th June.

None of the three is a particularly big venue, given that Calvi can easily fill one of 2,500 capacity. Intriguingly, La Gaîté-Lyrique, the Parisian venue, made its name as an operatic one, while Berghain in Berlin is a nightclub better known for techno. But Calvi has always been a little unusual in the selection of her venues, especially where she is “trialling” new material, as she appears to be doing here.

She then moves on to three festivals in August and September – Green Man and Festival No. 6 in the UK, and Rock en Seine in Paris, a favoured location.

All this suggests a full-blown UK and European tour towards the end of the year. That has been her modus operandi previously.

Personally, I feel she does formal venues better than festivals. Calvi feeds off intimacy. Many of her songs are personal in nature and she generates an apposite reaction from her audience. Her first Glastonbury performance in 2011 was spectacular but the second one, in 2014 on the Park Stage, was sparsely attended.

As she says on her Facebook page today: “I remember looking into your eyes, I remember our energy. I want it again.”

Tickets for the London show go on sale on Wednesday morning, April 25th, at 11 am UK time.

Photo of Anna Calvi at Deer Shed Festival, July 2016: Simon Godley

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.