Eight Songs For Our Times By … Vivien Goldman

Vivien Goldman, whose sounds move somewhere between Afrobeat-, Dub-, Reggae and Post-Punk, presents a range of her favorite songs. As a member of The Flying Lizards and Chantage, as well as a solo artist, she has always explored the boundaries of genre. Maybe the playlist below will help to distinguish these different influences. Vivien Goldman is part of Berlin Pop-Kultur Festival in August.

Vivien Goldman herself introduced the list with the following words: „This is a list of some embedded songs that never really leave my head. Many have been there for years, some moved in more recently. As I prepare my own long-recorded and brand new songs for my performance at the Berlin Pop-Kultur Festival with an original duo of percussion/ukulele player/singer Louise Taylor and bassplayer Max Hirtz-Wolf, these tracks are touchstones.“


Hollie Cook
„Angel Fire“

From her new-ish LP, Vessel of Love. Professionally, Cook was raised on stage by the late singer of The Slits Ari Up (née Forster). For those, who, like me, love old school dub and lover’s rock and the time they intertwined with punk’s bold spirit, it is great to hear Hollie’s tender voice produced by Youth (Killing Joke, Paul McCartney, Poly Styrene), forward the vibes into the future. (Disclosure: I am working on songs with Youth right now for the Berlin show and beyond!)


15, 16 and 17
„Black Skin Boys“

A favourite from the lover’s Rock reggae girl harmony groups of 1970s London. With its ridiculously alluring sinuous bass, the song’s positive affirmation was very encouraging for young black males who had to deal with non-stop harassment and those who resisted the system with them. It was produced by Dennis Bovell, a great talent whose band Matumbi was a British reggae mainstay, as was his Sufferers Sound System… he also produced The Slits and still reggae-rocks on today.


Skinny Girl Diet
„Silver Spoons“

This abrasive young family trio coming from London’s housing projects, describe themselves as „eclectic weirdoes“. With echoes of NY’s punk-funk pioneers ESG in their sparse, fuzzy sharpness, the SGDs dissect the UK social and surveillance structure with surgical satirical precision.


Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J. Balvin
„I Like It“

Encouragingly, a big American hit right now is this update of the riveting vintage Latin boogaloo sound with Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, a reggaeton-rap version of „I Like It Like That“, Pete Rodriguez’s 1967 smash. I love this rise of mass American affection for hybrid Latin/Anglo songs, like the „Despacito“ phenomenon, not only because I dig it musically but because it means people are rejecting the divisive racist policies of the current government!


Neneh Cherry

I have a long human bond with Neneh Cherry, but separately, her musical progress never fails to excite me. Here the punky-dubby-rappy Scandi-Nubian works with the duo RocketNumberNine on „The Blank Project”, and the sound is Primal Futurist – harsh, compelling beats, Neneh’s deep-down lyrics and her desert wail without words.


Robert Wyatt
„Sea Song“

The opening track of Wyatt’s majestic Rock Bottom album. Its poignant melancholia seeps through in meandering melodies and words of exquisite banality. Given the mordant album title, it is uncanny that Wyatt wrote much of this music before the 1973 accident that resulted in his having to use a wheelchair. The idea of music helping him survive that trauma is reinforced by the cover’s illustration of Robert split in two, in the sea, waving, not drowning, made by his wife Alfreda Benge.



The big band from Guadeloupe, Kassav was started by the Desvarieux brothers in the 1980s. Auteurs of the zouk sound that swept Latin America and the Caribbean, they are still very active today. Years on, the ravishing textural contrasts of this record still elate me. Jocelyne Beroard’s vocals are a big inspiration to me. I love the track’s delicacy, wit and uplifting ambiance. I listen to it most mornings.


Not sure if you want something by me on this Playlist but if so, maybe use my Flying Lizards’ „Her Story”?
(SPEX: „Sure!”)
The Flying Lizards
„Her Story“
Twisted disco was in the zeitgeist when I recorded this feminist dance record with my fellow Flying Lizards. Through some weird series of arguments with myself, it wound up being called „Her Story”, but it’s pretty obvious that I had Herstory in mind, then as now.


Vivien Goldman live in concert
18.08. Pop-Kultur Festival – Kulturbrauerei Berlin
For all further information about the festival click here


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