Category Archives: Music reviews

The Tales of a Southern Soul Sista -Southern Soul Festival 2018


Once upon a time….

My quest for music has taken to many weird and wonderful places and non more so, than  the Southern Soul Festival, situated near a small seaside town of ulicij in Montenegro.

Southern Soul festival has just entered it’s 6th year, which each festival growing from strength to strength. For several years my music family told me of tales of this exquisite place, how the music was, ‘par excellence’, and the people who exude warmth and kindness.

This year the stars and planets aligned for me to make this eagerly awaited trip. Due to my hectic lifestyle I did very little research of where I going or indeed what to expect, preferring to go with the flow.

I am writing this post festival, in-between a crazy 15 hour return journey from Podgorica via Budapest, London and finally my home in Bristol. Those regular festival goers will know that functioning normally after a week of partying can be challenging but not in this case. I am struck my zen like calm and ease. For I am elated, fresh and bursting with enthusiasm to share my newly found treasure with you all. Southern Soul festival is a rare jewel.

The Setting Montenegro & Ulcinj 


Montenegro, is country  I would described as rustic, perhaps not as developed in places as it’s Croatian neighbour, but no less beautiful. Near the Artist Village, site just a short 10 euro taxi journey away is the old town of Ulcinj, nestled within the walled fortresses; are small restaurants and artisan shops. On one particular soggy day, my friends and I, (nicked the 11 plus 1 crew) descended to The Pirate Restaurant at the top of the fort. We look like a bunch of brightly coloured vagabonds, a tad under dressed for this new restaurant and hotel. We need not have worried as we were treated incredibly well by the friendly waiter and sommelier. The food was amazing, two of my friends declaring that that had just tasted the best steak, tuna steak they have very had!

There are plenty of small and friendly seafood restaurants dotted around the festival site to explore and enjoy. On site at the beach stage there was a burger van which offered nice salads, burgers and wraps, seasonable vegetables to enjoy.

Before I continue to describe the wonders of the festival, I am compelled to share the warmth and kind hospitality I experienced from the staff and local people. From the moment I appeared in arrivals I was met by Anna, smiling with banner baring my name. Luka our driver, a student studying economics & history,  drove the 1.30hr transfer from Podgorica to the Ulcinq. Luka had to be one of the friendliest and knowledgeable people I have ever met. After spending over an hour in his company I knew more of the social, political an economic history of Montenegro. it was fascinating. Petar, aged 16 years who travelled with us, shared his aspirations of becoming a DJ.  Showed enthusiasm at my life as DJ and eagerness to learn about from others. During my time in Montenegro I was bowled over by the friendliness of the people I met, it was humbling.

Back to the festival


There is gentle flowing ease that runs through the festival just under the surface, it lacks the hectic and exhausting energy of most places I have been too. There is ample  space along the black sandy beaches to lose yourself, this is matched by the somewhat murky (due to the colour of the sand) but clean& inviting  Adriatic Sea

if you stay at the Artist Village on the Copacabana resort site, you will find simple clean chalets standing side by side. I mention this because a large part of the festivals success is down to the people. The festival goers themselves were all that you could ask for at a festival. Over the course of the week, I had the utter pleasure to meet some amazing people. For example one night after returning from the beach stage, I popped over to the neighbours to ask if they had any teabags. I know how very British of me, there where no teabags, but that didn’t stop us from getting on like a house on fire, we stayed up chatting until the early morning. The following night my room mate and I were locked out of our apartment, whilst fellow room mate (who had the key) danced until the early morning to Glenn Underground. Fortunately for us our trusty neighbours returned and for the second time we partied until the early hours once again. We all got on so well that soon we nicknamed our group of chalets ‘Ramsey Street’, after the top Australian soap!

If you were very lucky you might catch a glimpse of the resident tortoise, making it’s way around the site.

So finally we move to the festival site itself, as you can see there is a lot to say.

This year Montenegro was hit by unseasonable wet weather much to the surprise of many of the guests. This made the day time at the beach stages less than favourable but we all persevered. the line up of artists was enough to brighten any clouds that appeared in the sky.

The opening night of the festival was held at the Copacabana Bar club house at the artist village. I was thrilled to see our very own DJ Tunesmith aka Joan Smith, who laid down the gauntlet in true selector stylee; heady mixtures of Jazz Funk, Raregroove and Soul. Next up Patrick Steel, galvanised an already giddy crowd into a frenzy, by playing every song that meant something to the music heads over the years. Following on with; deep afro and jazzy House vibes, anthems that got the crowd singing in unison. After a very long day travelling from London, 4am start, two flights and a transfer I retired to bed. When dynamic duo Al & Ket from Mucho Soul take the decks. I could not sleep I just listened to their wonderful choice in music, the continuing cheers and spiritual, Deep, Afro house rhythms it was glorious! Those guy live and breath music.

If you are still with me at this stage well done, it is a long review but there is a lot to say about this unique festival. One of the things that drew me to Southern Soul was the lineup. From the very first night I knew I had hit the mother load!

The festival is the brainchild of Petar, Nikola and Marko, all 3 are avid music lovers they wanted to share their passions with the world. Eddy Ramich & Dom Servini constructed  the programming with such creativity and skill, I’ve never heard of a line up like it.

The line up is a eclectic blend of cultures and diversities, it boasts well world known artists & bands such as; Faze Action & Vanessa Williams, Jazzanova, Leroy Burgess and Chris Dave and the Drumheadz to lessen known but equally talented acts. It is easy to stumble upon a previously unknown treasure, which sparks the interests and inspires you to seek more from that artist when you get home. Over the course of the week I heard everything from: Spiritual Jazz,  World Music, Psychadelic Fusion Jazz, Jazz Funk, Acid Jazz, Broken Beat, Disco, Hip Hop, Dub, Jungle, Deep Afro House, Soul Gospel House, Soul, Boogie and Funk and incredible interpretations of all these genres.

All week we danced either swaying and feeling the music flow like water through our bodies, or skanking, bruking out, getting down low lower or jumping up high with arms aloft. Know that the you dance on the sand which is tricky but there is something special about dancing barefoot connecting with the earth beneath our feet, causing mini mole hill like mounds to appear.

Moving and Grooving SSF Style

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For the first time in years I discovered so many new acts that I could scarcely contain my excitement. The festival site compromises of 3 stages; the Organic stage plays host to more Leftfield Jazz, world music and looks towards the origins of the music. The live stage speaks for itself, expect to hear world class acts from across the spectrum. The Cosmic stage, explores the evolution of dance music, from Deep, Jazzy, glitchy, to Bass driven, Soulful, Techy Vibes House and Disco grooves. Kudos to the sound engineers for creating for the most part amazing sound quality. The live stage and Organic stage where incredible!


The site is designed to move with ease easy  between the stages. The programming designed so that any given time you can flit between the genres depending on your mood. As a result I stumbled on some real gems.

The Artists and the music


There were so many highlights to the week that it is almost impossible to single out specifics. This is the first time I have been in this situation so rather than tell you all about each act I saw, I will suggest some recommendations for you to check out at your leisure, in no particular order.


The above is the tip of the musical iceberg, for more information about Southern Soul Festival line up, and event information go to

And so in conclusion


The Southern Soul Festival is the perfect example of what happens when you dare to dream and create a unique space, that values musicians and their craft. It’s beauty lies in the fact that people of all ages from across the world, come together bringing positive energy and genuine admiration. Without doubt the people shape the festival and this alongside the music makes this festival a marriage made in heaven.

The end result is a festival brimming over with originality, innovation, world class entertainment from start to finish. For me Southern Soul was like coming home and reminded me of why I started my quest in the first place.

Sending massive love and blessings to the organisers; Petar, Marko and Nikola. Eddy Ramich and Dom Servini (both amazing DJs in their own right) for programming such an incredible line up. To all the staff, especially Nina, Luka and Petar. To the 11 Plus 1 crew and the neighbours especially Ann Marie, Joe, Carlos & Maurice for all the laughs and for being amazing company Lastly to all the happy souls who weaved their own individual magic to make this one of the best experiences ever!

Written by Angel Mel Selector  for the love of music –

Special thanks to Alan Kenny Arscott, Ket Shah and  Jason Purple for their photography

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Shindig Weekender 2018 ‘The funkiest festival in the West’!

I’ve been waiting for the glitter filled rainbow dust to settle after what can only be described as the best festival to hit the West Country in recent years.

Deep within the rolling hills of Bruton, Wiltshire, lies a hidden gem of epic proportions.

The sold out Shindig Weekender entered it’s 6th year to rapturous aplomb.
I’m a relative newcomer to Shindig, this year was only my second, however as a Bathionan the festival had been on my radar for several years before I finally made the switch, and it turned out to be the gift that kept on giving.
There is something intrinsically unique about Shindig, something I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it is the stunning undulating countryside, twice now I have watched spectacular lightening storms move their way across the valley; causing festival goers to wonder in awe, scream with delight and take shelter when the downpour hits. But not even the mighty weather can dampen our spirits. At the opposite end of the scale on the Friday, we were welcomed by the most beautiful sunshine, it seems that little Sundance we all secretly did enticed the sun out from those grey skies.
I took up my position behind the decks, ready to perform the opening set and warm up for Mr Scruff at the Dig Inn, the tingle of excitement merged with butterflies, the promise of an entire weekend dedicated to having the time of our lives filled the air, like blossoms on the breeze.
It was an honour to be asked to open the festival, I will never forget watching people arriving in their glittery & sequinned splendour, slowly making their way down the hill and into the tent, a gradual trickle turned into a pouring mass of iridescent dancing and smiling happy faces.
I recall one moment whilst watching the growing throng of people,  the Dig Inn felt like it burst at the seams. Mr Scruff on my right,  we exchanged smiles and appreciative nods. This is really happening! The atmosphere was palpable,  all buzzing on the same wavelength. The crowd joined together in music for the joyous occasion. Every molecule of built up excitement, anticipation and expectation exploded into the most incredible moment of my DJ-ing career thus far. I can not thank you all enough for the positive vibrations and feedback.
What makes Shindig so special? Without a doubt the people, from the organisers Will Lardner & Jess Chambers, (bless up), the festival crew, security and most of all, ‘you’, the most friendly, welcoming, accepting, beautiful, radiant, colourful, revellers who exude nothing but positive and happy vibrations. The riot of colour inspired by this year’s rainbow theme, was the most glorious sight to behold. One of the things I love more than anything about Shindig, is the freedom of self expression and bursts of creativity.
This year’s theme of rainbow, was completely embraced by everyone, with childhood favourite ‘Rainbow’, bringing many people out in Zippy, Bungle and George related attire. Those who were old enough immersed themselves at revisiting their childhood.
Shindig is a place where you can bring your children, in fact it’s the children who make the festival what it is. Kids are free to play, run and explore in a safe environment.There is plenty for them to do, the kids field was teaming with laughter and colour. The children are the barometer, the balance in keeping the hedonism at it’s optimum level without spilling over into chaos.
An important part of the dynamic, laidback atmosphere is due to the line up, which is directed towards a more mature ‘old skool’ party crowd, yet is attracts a wide diversity of people of all ages and backgrounds. There really is something for everyone, from comedy, social conscious talks, circus entertainment and quiet reflective chill out zones like the new Story land nook.
This year’s sell out event paid homage to some of the music scenes best loved heroes with artists such as: Soul 2 Soul, Mr Scuff, Norman Jay MBE, The Jungle Brothers, Stereo MCs and Danny Rampling taken centre stage. With a distinctly 90s and early 00s vibe invoking euphoric recall reflect to those who experienced it first hand, to newly acquired fans. Underground dance floor heavy weights, featured DJ acts from the likes of: Stardust Collective, Cut Chemist, Deekline Ed Solo, Mickey Finn & Aphrodite and  Dub Pistols amongst many others. Not forgetting the bristling assortment of upcoming artists from around the West Country; Bristol based movers & shakers; The Backroom aka DJ’s Simon Lloyd & Luke Stereo who held court in the Stardust tent for 5hrs in the glorious sunshine. Rising stars Eva Lazarus & Gardner, Bad Sister. Bristol Hip Hop, Funk & Soul vinyl sensation Boca45.
Personal highlights of the weekend have to be Mr Scruff of course, Norman Jay, Friday night in the Stardust tent was out of this world with the likes of Terry Farley and Danny Rampling bringing the vibe alive to a packed out crowd.
Kudos to Graham S who kicked off the Saturday session at the Dig Inn with two hour, funk, soul all played on 7inch vinyl! Reliving the old skool UK Hip Hop, in the shape of Blak Twang, Rodney P, Skitz. DJ Producer Chris Munkey throwing down heavy D&B beats in the Nautylicious. 2 Bad Mice, Top Buzz in the Tutti Frutti beach bar resonated with the sound sirens, jungle hi hats and bass lines.
After several days of partying hard, a much needed Sunday afternoon revival by Bristol’s Boca 45, The Allergies, Parker and DJP was heaven sent.
Watching the eagerly anticipated Soul 2 Soul band perform impeccably less than a meter away from me, was unbelievable, like listening to the soundtrack of my childhood.
There is so much more to say about this small but mighty festival, I could continue writing about the strange and wonderful sights and sounds, the belly laughs moments or the shenanigans back at base camp.
For me Shindig represents all I hold dear about growing up and living in the West Country, it has reconnected me with friends I haven’t seen in years, reignited and solidified friendships, giving me enormous sense of well being and belonging. In my humble opinion Shindig is one of the best boutique festivals I have ever had the pleasure of attending, long may it continue to be the ‘funkiest festival in the West’.
Sending out massive thanks and appreciation to Will, Jess and all the Shindig Crew, to each and every person who made this year one to remember.
Sending out massive thanks and appreciation to Will, Jess, Slim, Jeff and all the Shindig Crew, to each and every person who made this year one to remember. Big up to all the Bath, Bristol, Swindon Shindig family.

Lay-Far, On Taking Communication To A Whole New Level, With His New Album – “How I Communicate”.

The wait is over, the long anticipated 2nd album, “How I Communicate”, from Lay-Far, released on Local Talk records, dropped into ears with a devastating splash. You know the say…

Source: Lay-Far, On Taking Communication To A Whole New Level, With His New Album – “How I Communicate”.

Lay-Far, On Taking Communication To A Whole New Level, With His New Album – “How I Communicate”.



The wait is over, the long anticipated 2nd album, “How I Communicate”, from Lay-Far, released on Local Talk records, dropped into your ears with a devastating splash. You know the saying “made to make your mouth water”?! In this instance it’s a perfect example of the truth, with Lay-Far’s productions there is always music to nourish the soul.

“How I Communicate”, is a stunning arrangement exploring the many ways an artist can communicate with it’s listener.The album plays like a story, with Lay-Far as the story teller, he weaves intricate tales with each track. Interspersed between the ethereal lightness of House and the Disco explorers tales. It lays the foundations that reflect the current changes within dance music by exploring deep soulful rhythms. To complete the story, Lay-Far has enlisted the help of several well known characters from the likes of; Ashley Beedle & Darren Morris, Sean McCabe, Mark De Clive Lowe, Magic Number and Ricky Reid to name just a few. Each character takes a bow after lending their unique qualities to the tale. The entire album is held by the carefully selected narrations that adjoin the tracks.

If you are looking for a stand out track, there are plenty to chose from; whether it be the devastating beauty of ‘Like The First Time’, featuring the raw talent of Ross Hillard, Magic Number, or deep sea dive into ‘Slope’, with its uplifting groove and aquatic melodies.’Mystical Rhythms’, resurrects the love of the Broken Beat, both Lay-Far and Sean McCabe drop the realness on this one.

‘How I communicate’, is one of those albums that comes around every once in a while, that restores faith in the music scene. Do you recall your favourite story as a child? Take that same joy and excitement, place it into adult ears, press play and there you have it. Well that’s my humble opinion.

Written by Angel Mel – tune into Angel Mel Spread Love show on 1st February from 8pm until 10pm to listen to many tracks featured on the album –

For information on events and bookings go to

Listen here:

You can buy and enjoy the album from the following digital stores: The vinyl version coming out in March.

Google Play…/…/album/Lay_Far_How_I_Communicate…

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Edinburgh’s Finest Craig Smith In The Mix On Angel Mel’s Spread Love Show

craig smith

Join Angel Mel this Tuesday 16th February for another exclusive guest mix. The Spread Love show is proud to announce special guest mix by Edinburgh’s finest DJ / Producer Craig Smith, (6th Borough Project, Fifty Fathoms Deep), to celebrate the launch of AMMPromotions. To find out more on Craig Smith & bookings go to
Tune in: or via the Tune In app.
Craig’s, DJ career has been on the go for fully 20 years, from his own famous night, ‘Audio Deluxe’ to numerous gigs at every major club across the globe. His 10 year residency at The Honeycomb in Edinburgh saw him play, host and gain the respect of all the players on the dance music scene. Guests at his club nights have included: Masters At Work – Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and Lil’ Louie Vega, Terry Hunter, Phil Asher, John “Jellybean” Benitez, Bugz In The Attic, Domu, Mr V, Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, DJ Deep, Osunlade, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Teddy Douglas, Dave Camacho, Ashley Beadle, Kenny Carpenter, Kerri Chandler, Frankie Feliciano, DJ Spinna – all of whom have rated Craig’s parties as one of the best to play in Europe. Always listening to, and collecting music as a kid, Craig started searching out club nights that would quench his musical thirst, and in the early 80’s it was parties like the capital’s Manifesto that really inspired and turned him on to a fresh and exciting scene that none of his school friends were even aware of. A stalwart on the scene from a young age this eventually lead him to make his DJ’ing debut in 1987 at Edinburgh’s legendary club night The Hooch. His initial influences were boogie, jazz funk, soul and the emerging sounds of rap and house and for him it was a natural progression into the modern production techniques and sounds of dance music. He is known for his non-compromising attitude for the music he loves and has always refused to be categorised preferring to be known for playing “quality dance music”. This has lead to an impeccable international reputation with gigs and radio appearances worldwide, and in his own hometown he is notorious as Irvine Welsh’s favourite DJ with a mention in his books. So far all of Craig’s recording work has been met with great critical acclaim. He has had records out on various labels such as EMI, Virgin, Hush Hush, In Demand, Maxi, Five20East and Soul Heaven under his own name and various guises, such as Harden Soul Project, The Wayfarers, The Soul Renegades and The Shaw Height Assembly and more recently 6th Borough Project. He has remixed tracks for the likes of Cevin Fisher, Roland Clark, Afro Medusa, Beverly Knight, Soul Providers, Moloko, and the Hong Kong Micros amongst others. Currently working on new music with production partner Graeme Clark (The Revenge) on their popular 6th Borough Project and Craig Smith & The Revenge guises, recent releases/remixes on Five20east, Soul Heaven and Jimpsters new label Delusions Of Granduer (as Craig Smith & The Revenge) and Jisco, Less Productions, Instruments of Rapture, Soul Heaven (as 6th Borough Project) have been gaining mad props/ radio/club play from such heavy hitters as Kenny Dope, Giles Peterson, Simbad, Karizma, Jimpster, Terry Hunter, Danny Krivit, Chris Duckenfield, Joe Clausell, Quinten Harris, Phil Asher, Todd Terje, Mad Matts and a host of others! Keep your eyes peeled as there are more tracks on the way with forthcoming releases on Soul Heaven, Instruments of Rapture, Freerange, Future Classics and Delusions Of Grandeur Craig has also been busy in the studio with Ricky Reid as they breath new life into the Soul Renegades production moniker. This exciting project has being gaining serious attention from the get go and with their debut release out now on the much respected Phil Ashers Restless Soul Music gaining heavy praise and with further releases due on UK label Fresh Minute, US deep house don Anthony Nicholson ‘s Circular Motion imprint and a Stephanie Cooke remix for Soulful Beats ready to follow the future looks rosy.






Rainer Trueby Runs With The Herd!

Source: Rainer Trueby Runs With The Herd!

Angel Mel Presents Opolopo On Soultrain Radio’s Spread Love Show

Source: Angel Mel Presents Opolopo On Soultrain Radio’s Spread Love Show

Source: Angel Mel Presents Opolopo On Soultrain Radio’s Spread Love Show

Kev Beadle Presents The Best Of Inner City Records Launch Album Launch For BBE Records


To celebrate the release of Kev Beadle’s latest compilation for BBE Records you are invited to join him with DJ Harv and Nick Hosier playing some quality jazz goodness on one of the best sound systems in London. Admission is FREE, so get there early……..

Created by music industry legend, MMO Music Group CEO and true godfather of karaoke (but that’s another story) Irv Kratka, alongside producer Eric Kriss, Inner City Records was founded in 1976. During its decade or so in existence, the label put together a formidable catalogue of jazz music and was voted Record Label Of The Year in 1979 by the International Jazz Critics Poll. As well as ‘classic jazz’, the label also gave a platform to more avant-garde material and dabbled in the emerging ‘jazz fusion’ sounds of the day.
Inner City boasted a particularly fervent fan-base in London, where many of its releases found a home within the sweaty underground dance clubs of Soho and Convent Garden back in the early 80s. Fittingly enough, London DJ and tastemaker Kev Beadle is the man chosen to put together this very special compilation of the imprint’s finest moments.

Soundclips and tracklisting:

For more booking information on this artist contact Angel Mel

Angel Mel Presents Opolopo On Soultrain Radio’s Spread Love Show

Source: Angel Mel Presents Opolopo On Soultrain Radio’s Spread Love Show

Angel Mel Presents Opolopo On Soultrain Radio’s Spread Love Show


On Tuesday 4th February 2016, the Spread Love radio show welcomed the brightest star on the horizon, Opolopo to do an exclusive guest mix.

Opolopo is a name that needs little introduction after scoring a tidal wave of successful with his live DJ performance; productions and remixes for countless artists such as: Nina Simone, Gregory Porter, Lisa Standfield, Michael Jackson et al.

Over the forthcoming weeks the show will be celebrating the launch of AMMP – (Angel Mel Music Promotions), by featuring a selection of guests mixes from the artists.

For more information on the artist bookings & AMMP go to

Also on featured on the show is music from the likes of Al Hudson, Brian Johnson & Gil Scott Heron, Masters of Work Ft India, Ashley Beedle, John Morales and many more.

Angel Mel’s Spread Love show is held fortnightly on Tuesday 8pm until 10pm and Sunday 2pm until 4pm for Soultrain Radio,

Follow the link to hear the show in full

Angel Mel Presents Opolopo Deep In The Mix On The Spread Love Show by Angelmel79 on Mixcloud