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Video: Quantic, Alice Russell conjure magic during London's riots

March 8, 2012 |  3:00 pm

Video: Quantic and Alice Russell lay down live session during London riots
The London borough of Hackney wasn’t the safest place for British soul singer Alice Russell to cut a live record in August 2011. Early that month, four days of vicious riots transformed the damp, working class area  into a flashpoint for violence, as looting and arson-caused infernos followed the shooting death of  local man Mark Duggan at the hands of London police, believed to be one of the main contributing factors for the fervor.

Thursday saw the release of a video documenting the live recording of Russell’s “I’ll Keep My Light in My Window” at the Carvery Studios in Hackney, a song that will show up on Russell’s forthcoming album with DJ-musician Quantic (a.k.a. William Holland), “Look Around the Corner,” out April 3 on British label Tru Thoughts.

As the riots and arson-caused blazes hit their peak, Russell walked into the studio to work with her album collaborator and his side project Combo Barbaro for a direct-to-disc recording of the song. Russell, who lives in Brighton, had earlier been in Colombia recording vocals for the collaboration, but Quantic asked her to fly back to England to do a live session on the song. What emerged was a peaceful, heartfelt jam session that created a fire all its own.

Her voice, bouncing off a menagerie of strings, bongos, bass, guitar and keys, delivered a sorely needed message of peace last year that still sounds remarkably of-the-moment. Ahead of Russell's upcoming South by Southwest showcase in Austin, Texas,  and her March 22 L.A. date with Robert Glasper at L.A. Exchange downtown, this clip offers a raw glimpse of her spirited soul power.


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-- Nate Jackson

Photo: A screen grab from the embedded video.