D.F.F.
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D.F.F.

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
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D.F.F. played in the Button Factory last night to launch their new album ‘Pouric Songs’. DFF are a ‘supergroup’ including the talents of Dave Flynn, Vyvienne Long, Niwel Tsumbu, Dan Bodwell, Aidan Dunphy, Cion O’Callaghan and Ciarán Swift.The band is fronted by Dave Flynn who plays guitar and vocals, with Vyvienne Long on Cello and vocals, and lead guitar from Niwel Tsumbu. They have a very impressive rhythm section; with Dan Bodwell on Double Bass, Ciarán Swift on Rhythm guitar and two percussionists Aidan Dunphy and Cion O’Callaghan. Michelle Owens joined the band on stage playing a variety of instruments and also acted as the support act on the night. The album features the lyrics of Pádraic Ó’Beirn, and that is where the name of the album came from.

There was an unusual mix of sounds at the concert last night, as the band showed off their various talents. They moved through African sounds, to pop and funk, and most genres in between. The one constant on all tracks is the impressive rhythm section that drives the tunes on. Despite the bands best efforts, early in the night the small crowd were resisting their attempts to get people up and dancing, and remained suction cupped to their chairs but later in the night the beat or alcohol had driven many to their feet to fill the space in front of the stage.

The band covered much ground and featured tracks such as ‘Beautiful Freaks like us’, ‘Quartz’, ‘Harvest Do’ and ‘Mad for you’, along with the majority of the new album. It’s an interesting and diverse sound they create, that has a mesmeric quality. Their songs slowly build and create grooves that you don’t want to stop! - Nomoreworkshorse.com (Arts Review Blog)


'The name's meaning is something of a mystery, but D.F.F. are less furtive about their objectives. A seven-strong group of musicians brought together by Irishman Dave Flynn, and including the cellist Vyvienne Long and the Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu, the band's purposeful debut album zings with vibrance and originality. Tsumbu's excellent playing, best heard on Phantom Moves and Freaky Funk, lends a lively African flavour to these easygoing chamber pop tunes, while the harmonies shared by Long and Flynn are both melodious and sincere. Quartz and Lullaby bring a broodiness to proceedings, but there is no escaping this album's all-inclusive optimism.' - The Sunday Times


'D.F.F. (don't ask us what it means) is the brainchild of award-winning composer and The Gloaming collaborator Dave Flynn. While attending an IMRO seminar in 2000, Flynn first crossed paths with songwriter Pádraic Ó'Beirn and the pair began to write music together. Now 14 years on, with the help of renowned cellist and vocalist Vyvienne Long and Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu, Pádraic's tunes (Pouric Songs) come to life in the form of 12 skillfully crafted 'African-tinged chamber pop' songs.
Right away 'Mad For You' acquaints us with Tsumbu's West-African rhythms, Long's sprightly harmonies and Flynn's astute arrangements. And at first it seems like an odd concoction. A couple of listens later it becomes clear that D.F.F. - over 12 meticulously produced tracks - have delivered a cracking record.
'Stone Walls' with its ornate production and ethereal layered vocals, is straight out of the baroque pop handbook (that's a good thing). Meanwhile Tsumbu's slick guitar work brings lashings of colour to the wonderfully titled 'Beautiful Freaks Like Us' and 'The Mad Magician' - the latter showcasing O'Beirn's uncomplicated, poetic lyrics.
Trumping everything else on the record, however, is the outstanding musicianship. Long's incandescent cello work is beyond beautiful, while Tsumbu's Congolese Rumba and Flynn's masterful pop melodies are superbly bolstered by Ciarán Swift (rhythm guitar) and Dan Bodwell (double bass) with Cion O'Callaghan (sic) and Aidan Dunphy providing all sorts of percussive delights. With such a talented line-up, their upcoming nationwide tour, which culminates with a Button Factory (Dublin) show on April 12, is definitely one for the diaries.' - Johnny Keegan - Hot Press


THE BIG RELEASE

DFF: Pouric Songs
Frisbee Records ✩✩✩✩

You fear the worst as you slap on the debut album from DFF – a local ‘supergroup’ blending avant garde and ‘world music’ influences. Recorded in part at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios and featuring a jazz guitarist whose work includes a piece entitled Five Études For Uilleann Pipes, the obvious worry is that the DFF will be a patience-testing mishmash of political correctness and pretension. What does ‘pouric songs’ even mean? Actually, DFF spectacularly fail to fulfil expectations and are much the better for it. De facto band leader David Flynn – the band’s name may, or may not, have something to do with his initials – might be steeped in classical and chamber music but here he mostly comes across as a moocher who’s surrendered to one Belle And Sebastian LP too many (that’s a hearty endorsement by the way).

Along with several accomplished musicians, he is chiefly assisted by Vyvienne Long (Damien Rice’s violinist back when he interacted with the outside world) and by Niwel Tsumbu, a Congolese multi-instrumentalist based in Dublin. Somehow, they find a way of blending disparate influences to produce weepy confessional pop, indie dirges direly in need of a shoulder on which to cry.
Yes, there are intimations of something more grandiose with clever flourishes and occasionally experimental arrangements. But Pouric Songs is careful to never seem too pleased with itself and the expected flights of indulgence are largely absent. Instead, this is a suite of downbeat songs delivered by a chap who sounds as if he’s just had his heart broken and is stomping around on the shards as if trying to elucidate whether he can still feel pain. - Metro Herald


They’re an Irish supergroup that blends chamber pop with rock and African influences, but don’t mistake DFF’s debut for `just another world music album’. Oh, and don’t ask them what their name means, either.
Deep Fried Fingers? Dirty Flamin’ Funk? Dublin Fandango Federation? You really want to know the answer? Well, to paraphrase a well-known quote from a famous Chuck Palahniuk novel, the first rule of DFF is “don’t ask what DFF stands for”. The second rule of DFF? “Don’t ask what DFF stands for.” You get the picture.
What we do know is this: the Irish supergroup of-sorts was brought together by Dublin musician Dave Flynn and includes cellist and co-vocalist Vyvienne Long (perhaps best known for her collaboration with Damien Rice) and Dublin-based Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu. Still, even Long admits to being flummoxed when it comes to their moniker. A band of their kind must retain a sense of intrigue, after all.
“There’s such a long stream of emails as to what it could be, but I don’t think even Dave himself knows,” she says, laughing. “The obvious thing is Dave Flynn Federation, or Dave Flynn Foundation, but there were lots of ideas about it – and probably some that shouldn’t be repeated . . .”
Flynn and Long were both classically trained at the DIT College of Music, but they never knew each other as students. It wasn’t until their paths crossed at a festival in Sweden that the rumblings of a collaboration began to be felt.
“I thought he was a bit odd, but I got over it,” recalls Long, laughing. “I was struck by his musicianship, so I was drawn to work with him. I had written a song for that festival called Seahorse, and it was a tricky piece of work for the cello and even trickier to play the same part on guitar – but he got it instantly, and that’s quite rare. He invited me to record on his album, and I was impressed by the efforts he’d gone to, to source really good musicians and top-notch studios.”
“We got on very well both musically and as friends, and we’ve collaborated a little since then,” says Flynn. “I supported her on a short Irish tour a couple of years ago, and that’s when I really thought it’d be great to work with her on an album.”
The line-up was further bolstered by the arrival of Tsumbu, who had worked with Flynn (on Africa Day) and Long (on The New Triangle, alongside composer Roger Doyle). His outstanding guitar playing on DFF’s new album, Pouric Sounds , flavours it with a joyful African vibrance, which has led the group’s sound to be described as “Kinshasa chamber-pop”. That uplifting, sunny-side-up vitality is especially audible on the songs Phantom Moves and Freaky Funk.
“I love African music styles, especially Congolese rumba and soukous music,” nods Flynn. “I learned a lot about that music through records, so I had a good working knowledge of the styles to be able to fit in with Niwel’s playing. He’s into all sorts of different styles of music and is incredibly versatile, so he blended in really easily with the non-African aspects of DFF.”
Flynn has been a gleeful genre-hopper throughout his career. He had already co-written the bulk of the songs with lyricist Pádraic Ó Beirn and had “strong ideas for the arrangements”. So once his musical collaborators were in place (including a four-piece backing band to bolster the trio at the front), they decamped to Peter Gabriel’s Real World studio in England and Grouse Lodge in Westmeath to commit them to tape.
The process was a fluid one that was modified as they went; Long was initially brought in to provide harmony vocals and cello on some tracks, but ended up playing a much bigger role.
“Vyvienne’s role on the album really evolved through this process,” explains Flynn. “After her first session, I thought her vocals were working so nicely with mine that we made it more like a duet and gave her some parts where she takes the lead vocal. Her cello was so great, too, that I asked her to play on all the tracks.
“With Niwel, I mainly just let him loose on the tracks and he came up with some incredible stuff; there’s so much great stuff that he laid down that didn’t even make it on the record. The solos in Quartz are elements of different takes merged into the one song. So I basically crafted his part from various improvisations he did over the song, whereas his epic guitar part on Freaky Funk is literally one take with no edits.”
With such a diverse cluster of sounds in the mix, Long admits that she was initially unsure about what the end product would be.
“I was a little hesistant about the album when we recorded it – I was new to the material, and I think you don’t always get the magic of something when it’s in the work-in-progress stages. But hearing it now, my opinion has completely u-turned. It’s a joyous, magical work.
“The album just shines, and when you look closer, the skills of all the players are gloriously apparent. The music is naturally uplifting and the lyrics are funny and beautifully descriptive; at times they read like an Irish fairy tale. They take me to other places.”
All three musicians are undoubtedly busy people, but there’s nothing to say that DFF can’t continue past one album and tour. Indeed, Flynn says that he has “enough suitable songs written at this stage for at least two more albums of DFF material”.
“My personal hope is that the Irish release and tour will go well and will generate interest that will result in some festival bookings initially,” he says, nodding. “We’d make a great festival band, and I’d really love us to do Electric Picnic, for example, or Womad, since we recorded the album in Real World Studios, where Womad have their office. We all tend to be quite busy with different projects, but I think there’s a general consensus amongst us that we’d like to continue.
“We also get along very well as friends, which is just as important and helps make this project so satisfying. That’s true of the other band members, too. We’re basically just a bunch of musicians who get on really well as friends, and share an interest in exploring different musical styles.” - Lauren Murphy - The Irish Times - The Irish Times


DAVE Flynn has put together an Irish supergroup of sorts to record an album long in gestation. Just don’t ask him about the name!

D.F.F. features the musical talents of multi- instrumentalist and composer Flynn, Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu, who has played regularly in Limerick in recent years, cellist and former Damien Rice collaborator Vyvienne Long, along with rhythm section Dan Bodwell, Ciarán Swift, Aidan Dunphy and Cion O’Callaghan.

Together they have produced debut album Pouric Songs, one bursting with influences, including African-tinged chamber pop songs and vocal harmonies - and are now heading out on tour, playing their first live gigs together, including one in 69 O’Connell Street next week.

There is a feeling that, like the album - bursting with originality and a feeling that it could zip off in any direction, so too might the live performances to back it up.

“Yeah, exactly right, especially with Niwel, when he takes off with his guitar, there will be no stopping him,” laughs Dave.

“A couple of the tracks, his guitar dominates in the live context, so we let him do his thing, and when he is ready to stop, we stop.

“We are trying to be as faithful to the album as we can, but anything like this, with a big, layered kind of album, there is only so much you can do to recreate it. And you have to be flexible in the live situation. We do have an extra musician in to cover different parts - Michelle Owens - and she is also the support act on the tour. She is covering all sorts of things.”

Flynn’s project from the beginning, he enlisted lyricist Pádraic O’Beirn and the musicians and recorded in two of the best studios in the world Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and Grouse Lodge in Westmeath, which was used by Michael Jackson not long before his death.

While the album pulsates, the whole project is “deliberately ambiguous” - his description.

He is expecting a question about D.F.F. and what it stands for, and is “not sick” of hearing it.

“I am expecting it, but other people are probably sick of my answer,” he laughs.

“I am not going to tell anyone! It is an ambiguous thing - it might have had some meaning when I thought of it, but 
not now.

“People have been asking us what genre it is, and that is ambiguous too. It is up to others to come up with that - people have been calling it world music, it is not really.

“Basically the answer is that it is just music, an albums of songs that if you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t!”

We like it and we think you will too. - The Limerick Leader


Discography

Pouric Songs - Debut Album - Frisbee Records FRCD004 - 2014
Mad For You/Skin to the Bone - Promo Single - Frisbee Records FRCD003 - 2014

Photos

Bio

'D.F.F. - over 12 meticulously produced tracks - have delivered
a cracking record' - Hot Press
'Uplifting, sunny-side-up vitality' - The Irish Times
'The band's purposeful debut album zings with vibrance and originality'
The Sunday Times
'Its an interesting and diverse sound they create, that has a mesmeric quality. Their songs slowly build and create grooves that you dont want to stop!' - Nomoreworkhorse.com

New Irish supergroup D.F.F. burst onto the Irish music scene in April 2014 to great acclaim with the release of their stunning debut album 'Pouric Songs' and a 7 date Irish Tour. The band's fresh new sound was heralded with national media coverage including appearances on Ireland's main TV Arts show 'The Works' on RTE 1 and one of the highest rated radio shows in Ireland 'The John Murray Show' on RTE Radio 1.

The first question you may ask about the band is what does D.F.F. mean?

Well, it can mean whatever you want it to mean, whatever definition comes to mind when you hear the exceptional sound of Irelands new cross-genre music sensation!

With an incomparable sound, D.F.F. merge singular talents and international reputations into one genre-bending musical concoction that reflects the diversity of Irelands modern music scene. The band is packed to the brim with extremely talented musicians and between them they have worked with hit songwriters (Damien Rice, Declan O'Rourke, Lisa Hannigan, Shane McGowan), classical orchestras (RT Orchestras), jazz legends (Louis Stewart, Herbie Hancock) and Irelands finest traditional musicians (Martin Hayes, Mairtin O'Connor and Tommy Peoples.)

At the front of the group are three musicians with international reputations across multiple genres. Main songwriter Dave Flynn (guitar/vocals) is as comfortable composing concertos for Martin Hayes (The Gloaming) as he is writing 3 minute pop songs. Vyvienne Long (cello/vocals), famed for her work with Damien Rice, brings her porcelain voice and sultry cello into the mix. The incredible Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu (guitar/vocals) brings an irresistible authenticity to the bands Kinshasa Chamber Pop style.

Add to this a rhythm section featuring four of the busiest musicians in Ireland, Dan Bodwell (double bass), Ciarn Swift (rhythm guitar), Aidan Dunphy (percussion) and Cion OCallaghan (percussion) and you have one of the most exciting groups to emerge in recent times.

This rhythm section are no strangers to working with renowned artists either! Bodwell has been known to play with Julie Feeney and Duke Special. Dunphy has been spotted on percussion with the likes of Declan ORourke and Goats Dont Shave. OCallaghan has plenty of credits on his list, most notably recording and touring with Paddy Casey and Mundy and he has also backed up Shane McGowan and Ronnie Drew on The Late Late Show. And Swift has performed with Fionn Regan and Roesy.

D.F.F.s critically lauded debut album Pouric Songs was recorded in two of the best studios in the world, Peter Gabriels Real World Studios and Grouse Lodge Studios (used by Michael Jackson). The songs are full of glorious pop melodies, poetic lyrics by Pdraic OBeirn and a truly unique instrumentation of male/female co-leads, three guitarists, two percussionists, cello and double bass. The album was released in Ireland in April 2014 with international release expected later in the year.

The bands live shows in April 2014 were dazzling affairs where the albums songs were stretched in new directions each night through the virtuoso musicianship of D.F.F. 

The band are not a shy bunch so feel free to ask them questions in between songs at their shows, they've even been known to get audience members up dancing on stage with them, but whatever you do, please dont ask what D.F.F. stands for! Only you can answer that question...

 

Band Members