Alongside Frank Ocean, B.o.B — aka Bobby Ray Simmons — is one of hip-hop’s most inventive and exciting artists right now. Meanwhile since their debut album, Smoke Fairies’ Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire have been gaining acclaim. Plus: Claudia Aurora, Polly Paulusma.

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SMOKE FAIRIES

Norwich Arts Centre, September 22

Since their 2010 debut album, Through Low Light And Trees, Smoke Fairies’ Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire have been on a journey, both physically and spiritually. Touring Britain, Europe and America, they’ve been drawing increasingly devoted audiences with their mesmerising music.

The slide guitar-driven blues-folk of girl–duo, who met a school during the mid-1990s in their Sussex home town of Chicester, have lived in New Orleans and Vancouver and recorded with Jack White for his Third Man label in Nashville. They also backed Richard Hawley on his folk-inspired, nautically themed EP False Light From The Land.

Theirs an exquisitely shivery blend of English alternative folk-rock and a more humid, bluesy brand of Americana. In other words, equal parts home and away, reflecting who they are and what they’ve seen, and sounding at the same time both eerily ancient and thrillingly modern.

All these experiences have bled through onto their latest album, Blood Speaks. “We’ve got more confident in what we’re doing, and so we’ve pushed things a bit more,” says Katherine. “We’ve gotten bolder with the dynamics, and our influences have broadened.”

t Further listening: www.smokefairies.com

B.O.B.

Waterfront, September 22

Alongside Frank Ocean, B.o.B — aka Bobby Ray Simmons — is one of hip-hop’s most inventive and exciting artists right now.

His second album, Strange Clouds, which was released in May, has received mass acclaim from critics and fans alike and debuted in the number 5 spot in the US selling over 75,000 copies in its first week. The first official single, So Good, went Top 10 here.

While his last single, Both Of Us, featuring guest vocals from US country artist Taylor Swift, was something of a summer anthem. It certainly proved a hit as his appearance at Radio 1’s massive pre-Olympics Hackney Weekend in June.

He arrives in Norwich as part of his first ever UK headline tour. His last jaunt this side of the Atlantic saw him support friends and label-mates Paramore in 2010 which included a phenomenal show at London’s O2 Arena.

The rapid-fire rapping that first helped make him famous on the underground scene — via various mixtapes — is still there on Strange Clouds, but he’s also taken on a whole lot else, including soul and club music. IT even includes words from Morgan Freeman. Don’t expect him to turn up on guest vocal at this Waterfront date though!

t Further listening: www.bobatl.com

CLAUDIA AURORA

Norwich Arts Centre, September 24

With a following to rival flamenco, the haunting melodies of Portuguese fado — traditional Portuguese folk-blues — have always held listeners spellbound. Claudia Aurora is its powerful new voice.

She certainly sings fado like no one else. The singer-songwriter’s debut album, Silêncio, was the first collection of original fado songs to be recorded in the UK since the great Portuguese Fado diva Amália Rodrigues recorded at Abbey Road Studios in 1952.

Claudia is a fadista and songwriter from Oporto, Portugal. She has been based in Bristol since 2003 and has built a reputation as a stunning live performer. She has sung fado at numerous venues in the UK, including the prestigious Kings Place, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and has previously performed at Norwich Theatre Royal.

This then is a great opportunity to see her in a much more intimate venue that is arguably more suited to her beguiling voice and unique original songs that deal with the traditional Fado themes of life, destiny, longing and despair.

Her performances are often spine-tingling and drenched in emotion and drama, so this is one not to miss.

t Further listening: www.claudia-aurora.com

POLLY PAULUSMA

Bicycle Shop, September 25

In 2003, 28-year-old Paulusma was happily putting the finishing touches to her London shed-recorded, self-produced debut album Scissors In My Pocket when Bjork’s indie label One Little Indian signed her up.

The album, an acoustic work of intimate tenderness and enchanting understated, intelligent folk pop, immediately received widespread critical acclaim upon its release back in 2004, prompting Uncut magazine to hail her “the finest young British female singer-songwriter to emerge over the last 12 months”.

She was subsequently catapulted around the world supporting the likes of Bob Dylan, Jamie Cullum, Coldplay, The Divine Comedy, Marianne Faithfull, Joseph Arthur and Gary Jules before playing Glastonbury, T in the Park, V Festival and the Cambridge Folk Festival among many others.

In 2007, she released the much darker, more electric Fingers & Thumbs, co-produced with Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Gomez, Badly Drawn Boy, Kings of Convenience) and recorded live in Liverpool’s famous Parr Street studios.

This year she founded her own label Wild Sound and has recorded and released her third home-spun studio album,, Leaves from the Family Tree, which features the warm, cinematic strings of Sherlock composer Michael Price and collaborations with alt-folk heroes John Parker (Nizlopi), Domino label protégé Adem and US songwriter Erin McKeown.

t Further listening: www.pollypaulusma.com

SOUNDS IN THE CITY

TONIGHT

Sissy & The Blisters + Joyland (garage/rock ‘n’roll) — Open

The Bootleg Boss (Stringsteen tribute) — Brickmakers

Egypt + The Electric Ducks (rock) — King Edward VII

Little Red Kings + Dusty Soup + Jack James (indie/rock) — B2

The Cream Horns (blues/funk) — Walnut Tree Shades

Cleavin’ Heavages (risqué rock) — Brewery Tap

Red Hot Rockers (rockabilly) — The Griffin

Johnny Jump Band (blues/country) — The Gordon

Murphy’s Lore (roots/Irish) — Silver Road Cottage

Hank Bemarvin (tribute) — Costessey Crown

Fresh Blood (local talent) — The Birdcage

SEPTEMBER 22

Smoke Fairies (folk/blues) — Arts Centre

B.o.B. (hip hop) — Waterfront

Steve Tilston (guitarist) — Puppet Theatre

Raw Edge (rock) — Brickmakers

Killer Tomatoes (punk) — King Edward VII

The Indebtors + Icarus Vision (rock) — B2

Frozen Raspberries (rock) — Boundary

Money Shot (rock) — Blueberry

The Misfits Collective (skiffle/bluegrass) — The Leopard

Kenny & The Motives (rock‘n’roll) — Arkwrights

Doozoot (pop/rock) — Angel Gardens

Murphy’s Lore (roots/Irish) — Trowel & Hammer

Johnny Valentine — Heath House

Bondy — Keir Hardie Hall

Alan Ley — Quebec Tavern

Tony Cann — The Windmill

Janey K — Robin Hood

SEPTEMBER 23

Kate Rusby (folk) — Theatre Royal

The Electric Ducks (blues/rock) — Walnut Tree Shades

The Time & Mercy Band (bluegrass/5pm) — Silver Road Cottage

Floating Greyhound (rock) — Lakenham Cock

Freeload (pop/rock/4pm) — Boundary

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

SEPTEMBER 24

Claudia Aurora (world/fado) — Arts Centre

Jazz Jam: feat. Lee Vasey — Silver Road Cottage

Jazz jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades

Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

SEPTEMBER 25

Tinchy Stryder (hip hop/pop) — Waterfront

Polly Paulusma (indie/acoustic) — Bicycle Shop

Jody Has A Hitlist (pop/rock) — B2

Matt Wattes (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

Nigel King Band (funk/soul) — Brickmakers

SEPTEMBER 26

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Open Mic — Garden House

SEPTEMBER 27

Chase & Status (DJ set) — UEA

Ryamond Froggatt (country) — Maddermarket Theatre

The Maine (rock) — Waterfront

Aftershock (pop/rock) — Brickmakers

The Planks (blues/soul) — Walnut Tree Shades

Box Deluxe Records Presents: The Macarno’s — Rumsey Wells

Johnny Jump Band (blues/country) — Micawber’s Tavern

Stan Guerva — Rose Tavern

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