Yannis & The Yaw share Under The Strikes, a vibrant explosion of highlife rhythm and rousing brass

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A collaboration between Foals’ Yannis Philippakis and the late, legendary drummer Tony Allen (best known for his work with Fela Kuti), Yannis & The Yaw’s cross-cultural pollination has inspired a wave of interest following their first single ‘Walk Through Fire’.

Musically it is fascinating: a creative hybrid between two different musicians of vastly different backgrounds and ages that makes a virtue of their disparate qualities. Their story is just as intriguing, with Tony first giving Yannis a subdued welcome to the studio before their sessions provided the roots for their friendship to flourish. And when Tony passed in 2020, aged 79, Yannis did all he could to honour his friend.

The result is the upcoming ‘Lagos Paris London’ EP which will be released on August 30th. Yannis now heightens expectations for its release by unveiling the project’s second single, ‘Under The Strikes’.

‘Under The Strikes’ is arguably the most fully realised example of what Yannis had anticipated from the collaboration. A vibrant explosion of highlife rhythm and rousing brass, it constantly evolves courtesy of Tony’s loose yet always exuberant beats – and then it goes wilder still, with a crescendo of brass introducing a beautifully dreamlike coda. It’s also a track which sparkles with the free-wheeling energy of a late night session. Tony asserted that one-take for his drum parts was all he needed, with Yannis later finessing the track around his performance.

Yannis says, “‘Under The Strikes’ was inspired by walking to the studio during Paris’s refuse strikes, where trash was piled three stories high. I was fascinated by the idea that we were born into the greatest period of history and yet, things were disintegrating at the same time: we were finding the positives were mirrored by new lows and social disintegration.  

So that’s the backdrop but there’s also a kind of coda at the end, a sense of farewell almost, which felt really poignant as it was the last thing we would work on of Tony’s.”

‘Under The Strikes’ and ‘Walk Through Fire’ both feature on the five-track Lagos Paris LondonEP which is available to pre-order or pre-save here. The official store offers red fire vinyl and black vinyl, each of which are packaged with a postcard, as well as a CD. All physical formats are limited edition and will be signed by Yannis,  with cover art crafted by the acclaimed British artist Barka.

Yannis recently promised that the upcoming Yaw live shows will be “free flowing and on the edge, improvised passages will meet with hard worn grooves” with a band featuring musicians from the EP as well as others from their wider creative community. The tour was recently extended with the addition of the first Yannis & The Yaw festival date at the Nice Jazz Festival. Limited tickets for the shows, listed below, are available here.

 

AUGUST

20th – Nice, Jazz Festival

 

SEPTEMBER – HEADLINE SHOWS

10th – Amsterdam, Paradiso

11th – Paris, La Cigale

13th – London, KOKO SOLD OUT