LIFE & SEX & DEATH|
New story starts here…...
It’s been nearly 7 years since the release of Man.
The people at the Umbrella Group are still saying the new cd is coming out in early 2004.
She continues to support charity projects in London, most recently UNICEF in September 2003.
Neneh is DJing at special events from Ibiza to London and Amsterdam.
Neneh’s Closing show at the Cannes Film Festival final night in 1997 is now available on DVD.
Neneh appeared along side Ari Up at a club in Camden recently.
Neneh appeared in the British short film Assumption in 2002. The film was shown again in London, July 2003 along with similar films as a day of protest against police violence.
This year Neneh recorded with United State and Groove Armada. The United State-release 2004.
Neneh will turn 40 years old in 2004.
Old story starts here…….
Neneh was born in Sweden in 1964 and grew up in a rural schoolhouse three hours' drive from the nearest city with her mother Moki, a painter, and her stepfather Don Cherry, the acclaimed American jazz trumpeter. Don Cherry was an exponent of world music long before the term existed, and his world often required him to travel. Frequently Moki, (Monica) Neneh and her brother Eagle Eye, would accompany him, punctuating the stability of their home life with the stimulus of visiting new lands.
Some of Cherry's earliest memories sound incredibly exotic to the rest of us. She recalls meeting Miles Davis at age four and watching saxophone genius Ornette Coleman rehearse in his New York City loft. She also remembers the way that her stepdad would embarrass her and Eagle Eye by playing his flute on subways and in the street, insisting that they sing along. Among Neneh's childhood playmates in New York were the daughters of American poet Amiri Baraka (formerly Leroi Jones). Lisa Jones, who tagged along and went clubbing with the teenage Neneh, fondly mentions a punk rock flame-red-haired Neneh, in her book 'Bullet Proof Diva'. Among the musicians in and around the Cherry home was Tina Weymouth from Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club fame. Suggest to Cherry that her upbringing was in anyway bohemian and she screws up her nose in distaste.
"I know it sounds exotic, but it was really normal in a way," she says, her accent a blend of Brooklyn and Cockney that reflects her nomadic upbringing. "What was great about it was that it was really matter of fact. My parents weren't hippies or anything; it was just that they made no distinction between their art and their family life. So when they needed to move, say so my dad could do some sort of musical project somewhere, it was always accepted that we would all come along and do it as a family."
Despite their peripatetic existence, the converted schoolhouse (the same one featured on the artwork of her second album, Homebrew) remained the family's stable base until Cherry was almost 15. By this time she had reacted against the conservation of rural Sweden by becoming a difficult teenager. "I felt oppressed by that small-town Swedish way of life," she recalls. "I was bored, so I used to hang out with the bad boys, the tough guys - guys into motorbikes and big American cars. It wasn't really me, you know, but they were the only people I found at all interesting."
Over the next few years, despite her relatively tender age, Cherry commuted regularly between London and New York, forging an alliance with legendary UK all girl punk group The Slits, with whom Don Cherry had toured with in 1979. Through her friendship with Ari Up, the group's lead singer, she became friends with the Pop Group, and when that band splintered she was asked to front one its off shoots, Rip Rig & Panic, an outfit that blended punk, funk, and jazz into a frequently incendiary while. The year was 1981 and Cherry was all of 17 years old.
Within a year she was a mum, thanks to the arrival of daughter Naima, but still found time to combine motherhood and music as Rip Rig & Panic later metamorphosed into Float Up CP. As lead singer, along with Andrea Oliver, Neneh with Rip Rig & Panic managed to produce 3 albums and numerous singles over a short period of time. Float Up CP produced one LP that is considered to be the more commercial collection of songs from this period. Float UP CP also dissolved, and when Cherry re-emerged in 1989 both she and her music had undergone a radical change. Raw Like Sushi, produced by Cameron McVey, Cherry's husband, with Johnny Dollar, was a soulful dance record that perfectly catapulted the mood of the new club culture emerging in Britain at the time. The appeal of songs like Buffalo Stance and Manchild however proved universal as Raw Like Sushi went on to sell two million copies around the globe..
Raw Like Sushi established Neneh Cherry's public persona; sassy and strong, yet not afraid to reveal vulnerability, and sexy in a way that appealed to both men and women. An extra dimension - a sort of earthmother factor - was added when Cherry undertook promotional duties for the second album while heavily pregnant with her second child, Tyson. For all these reasons, and as probably many more as there are Neneh Cherry fans, the singer established a strong rapport with her audience.
The long awaited follow up, 1992s Homebrew received generally strong reviews. And was named among the best cds of 1992 by Rolling Stone, New Musical Express, Q, Entertainment Weekly, and a slew of other publications. Suggest to Cherry that the cds sparseness, hip hop feel and lack of dancefloor friendly tune was an attempt to put some distance between herself and the dancefloor diva stereotype the success of Raw Like Sushi had established and she agrees wholeheartedly. "Oh very much so. There was always much more to my approach to music than just that as anyone who ever saw Rip Rig and Panic knows, I felt I'd been pidgeon holed, and that was the last thing I wanted.
Homebrew is the result of Neneh and Cameron effort to start a home recording studio. The first songs were recorded in their London home in a bedroom that was converted to a recording studio. The rest of the songs were recorded in Sweden. The Cherry/McVey family picked up and left London and moved into the old red schoolhouse that Neneh once called home. The CD was eventually completed and mixed on at home. At the same time the group Massive Attack who had moved into the studio to work on their first CD “Blue Lines” occupied the London house. Cameron was managing Massive Attack at this time and Neneh is credited in the liner notes for her musical contributions to several tracks. Along for most of these sessions was Tricky Kid. Tricky would eventually go solo and seek worldwide expectance as a trip hop aficionado. Tricky would eventually be recycled in Neneh's musical production team for several contributions to the CD Man.
Homebrew might have broken the mould, but its diminished sales and log gestation also served to put pressure on Cherry, once again causing her to re-evaluate her music - for someone so outwardly confident, Cherry admits to surprising bouts of self-doubt. Resisting the urge to panic, she retreated once more, not emerging again until "7 Seconds", her duet with African star Youssou N'Dour, was released in early 1995. On paper, an anti-racism song sung partially in French would appear an unlikely comeback, yet its brilliance made it a worldwide hit. 7 Seconds topped the French charts for 17 weeks. 7 Seconds won Neneh and Youssou The World Music Award for 1995 and the MTV Europe Music Video Award. This was also the song that brought Neneh back to New York City (though briefly) to perform on The David Letterman show. At the same time, Neneh and Cameron also attempted to move the entire family to New York. They bought a home in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn New York. Cameron was less then thrilled about this move while Neneh was enthused about moving back to New York. Soon after moving in, the couple was held up at gunpoint and robbed by a teenage bandit. The entire family packed up again and headed back to safer and kinder grounds in London. Neneh's mother Moki remains in Queens New York in a loft just across the East River from East 60th Street.
The success of 7 Seconds renewed her self-confidence to recommence work on her third album. By this time, Cherry, Cameron and family had again relocated, to the South of Spain. ("One of the great things my childhood gave me is the realization that it's quite possible to live like that - to have kids and still travel and make music," she reflects.)
Recording, however, was interrupted by the arrival of her stepfather, who had been diagnosed with liver cancer and knew he was dying. Simultaneously, Neneh discovered that she was pregnant with her third child. During his last days, she says, Don Cherry spent long periods just sitting with his hands on her swelling belly. "It was just mad coincidence because although I knew he was ill, I had no idea he was dying when I got pregnant," says Cherry. "I felt it was like a gift. There was a new life coming while his was ebbing away. And I know he felt the same about it."
Little wonder that Cherry described her last full-length release, Man, as a record about "Life Sex and Death". But even before it's release, there had been a few clues as to what to expect. "7 Seconds" had been the first taste, and another came with the appearance of her version of "Trouble Man" on the Marvin Gaye tribute album. "Why did I choose Trouble Man as my Marvin Gaye song?" says Cherry, repeating my question "Because I'm a woman. It's like my take on James Brown's "It's a Man's World," the whole gender bending thing. I love that.
Cherry is, in many ways, an ideal person to cover Gaye's work because both have the ability to alternate seamlessly between material with a strong social conscience and outright celebrations of lust and love. The third preview was her collaboration with Tricky, "Together now," which initially appeared on Nearly God side project. Tricky and Cherry go way back a long way; like Rip Rig & Panic. Tricky hails from Bristol. Cherry says there are around ten unreleased tracks that the pair have recorded together, so it seems curious that both should choose to put both the same cut on their albums. : It was just the song the fitted in best with the rest of Man. The others didn't have the right feel, but there are some great songs there that I'd like to put on an EP. It probably needs to stand alone."
Towards the end of recording Man, Cherry hit a creative peak that resulted in what she feels is the albums strongest songs and a blueprint for future direction.
"The later songs - "Kootchie "Hornbeam" "Bestiality" "Carry Me" - were written in a rush while Don was really sick." she explains. "That's where the stuff about this record being about love and sex and death comes from, and perhaps accounts for that more epic, big-song feel that those tracks alone have. The other thing is that we'd just come back from a tour and we really wanted to keep the feel that playing live had given us. So we got the guitars out and tried to keep things loose and those songs all came in about a week of intense creativity.
"It's been like a slap in the head and now I feel like I've been recycled. The pure excitement really brought me out of myself, the feeling of moving on, of being in transition. It's like I've been opening all these doors, trying to find out which one was really me, and then it was like, "Ah it's the blue door" And we all just went through and it was so much fun. We all had so much fun. We all had such a laugh and the tunes just seemed to fall together. It was liberating."
Following the release of Man, Neneh and her band embarked on tour that snaked around Europe through music festivals from Stockholm to Madrid from Scotland to London and from several dates in Germany to Belgium. Neneh appeared throughout 1996 -97 in MTV Europe and was featured on several programs in each city. The Film group ATTE has produced a 70-minute long documentary on Neneh's long career and it ends with the 97 tour. Another documentary was produced and filmed in Spain for German TV. Neneh taped several videos for the Man CD. The Woman video went on to receive several awards for the director Jamie Thraves, who has gone on to direct feature films. Neneh's tour also ventured into remote and exotic places like Rio De Jeniero.
Throughout 1998 -99 Neneh has continued to record music. Neneh's music in this period was appearing on tribute and compilation works, with Trolik Gurtu, the Garcia Lorca Project, the Akasha cd and so many others. Neneh also continues to contribute music to soundtracks.
In late 1999 a new CD was announced but never released. In early 2000 Neneh's management announced that Neneh has left Virgin Records whom she'd been with for nearly 12 years. This obviously hasn't dimmed Neneh's continued success. Neneh's single Buddy X (originally released in 93) reached #3 in the British charts in March 2000. The single was remixed by the DreemTeem and gave Neneh another chart topping single.
Neneh recorded as duet with her brother Eagle Eye and this single appears on Eagle Eye's new CD. Neneh appeared on British TV with Eagle Eye and has also appeared in concert as guest on Eagle's European promo tour
In May 2000 Neneh was due to appear at the London tribute to the musician Ian Dury who was long time family friend. Neneh didn't appear at the tribute
but attended to the wake and funeral. Photographers outside the funeral snapped this photo. Neneh was scheduled to record a single that would appear on a Tribute album for Ian Dury. When the CD was released in April 2001, Neneh's work was not included. The Official website for the Ian Dury charity album credits Neneh with the song “Brand new Boots and Panties”.
Neneh is now back residing in North London's Primrose Hill. A new record label hasn't been announced. That's just a matter of time. Perhaps someday Neneh will come back to the states to perform and release music here. "That need for stability and time out has certainly been a factor in the past," Cherry admits. "Now instead of wanting to sit back and evaluate. I just want to keep moving while I've got this momentum. It's like being reborn
"That need for stability and time out has certainly been a factor in the past,"Cherry admits. "Now instead of wanting to sit back and evaluate. I just want to keep moving while I've got this momentum. It's like being reborn."
The The very latest we've heard about recordings and releases are sporadic but this much we know. Neneh was involved with the Peter Gabriel Millennium Project "OVO". This project was a huge event that is chronicled on a major CD release. Neneh contributed vocals to an intro song on the project.
Neneh recorded 2 songs with the British band GUM for the soundtrack of "Dead Bolt Dead". The soundtrack will probably be available sometime in the summer of 2001. And Lastly, Neneh has a single due out in July. This is a duet with Speech, the lead singer from Arrested Development. "Braided Hair" is the single
UPDATE ON Neneh’s 37th birthday in March 2001. A great message came into the message board that said Neneh looks as great as ever and has actually seen these pages. From JADA