Live Review: Haiku Salut + Julia-Sophie at Bush Hall, London

Haiku Salut are a Derbyshire trio comprising wife and wife couple Gemma and Sophie Barkerwood, and Louise Croft.  Tonight’s complementary vintage venue provides the perfect setting for their experimental music, and the ‘trio’ aspect runs deeper than the surface, as the building was originally built by a publisher as one of a trio of London dance halls he built for each of his daughters.

Derbyshire, for us, has always been firmly on the musical map thanks to the dreamy, twee and indie-poptastic Indie Tracks festival.  Tonight’s show promises to be a little different than your average gig, as Haiku Salut play their music to a ‘lamp show’ – with vintage light stands flicking on and off synchronised in time with their music. With this they hint at a secret map to a yet undiscovered land and we are happy to add this pin to our musical map tonight.

Haiku Salut come on stage to the sound of sampled bird song. Not many bands combine said noise with trumpet, drum pad, guitar (acoustic and electric), keyboard, and accordion.  They do it with well and with ease.  It doesn’t feel important to distinguish their individual songs, nor are any announced by the band.  To do so might break the meditative trance we find ourselves in.  More than standalone songs they create a heart-warming and relaxing atmosphere as a collective in the same way an album is (or used to be before music streaming) a way of telling a story from beginning to end.

Their music reminds us of Icelandic band Múm, with soothing tones, embryonic and delicate, with all the layers that Sigur Ros and Mogwai masterfully provide, but perhaps without the frequent extreme volume of the latter. The music is nurturing and holds us like a soft, warm blanket as we are lulled almost to a blissful sleep.

Tonight’s extremely rare 100% female line up is a delight to us and Oxford-based support artist Julia-Sophie, gives us a taste of her live electronic music making, ending with the amazingly catchy and radio friendly ‘Telephone’ – yet to be released but eagerly anticipated.

After the gig, we are impressed to learn that Haiku Salut are currently on tour with their two babies.  We love that their driver for this tour doubles up as their babysitter– true multi-tasking from their backstage crew for these accomplished multi-instrumentalists.


Visit haikusalut.com to find out more.

Review by Caroline Low
Photography by Julia Hawkins: instagram.com/juliahawkins

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