Do Not Be Afraid

by Vula Viel

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Heavy-weight 180gm black vinyl
    Printed at Pallas
    Limited edition: only 501 copies made
    ***Download code included***
    Stunning artwork by Arthur Boer
    Padded inner sleeves, white
    Matt varnish

    Includes unlimited streaming of Do Not Be Afraid via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    edition of 500 

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a 4-sided digipak
    Matt varnish
    Artwork by Arthur Boer
    Photo by Monika Jakubowska

    Includes unlimited streaming of Do Not Be Afraid via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 4 days
    edition of 1000 

      £10 GBP


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 3 Vula Viel releases available on Bandcamp and save 35%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Do Not Be Afraid, Yes Yaa Yaa EP, and Good is Good. , and , .

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  • Stanley/Stella VV Design T-Shirt

    Vula Viel artwork on Stanley/Stella organic cotton shirts. Super soft, high quality. This is your new favourite T-shirt!
    Womens S / M / L
    Mens S / M / L / XL

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“Dance to it, make love to it, consume it, listen to it, start at the clouds to it!” Iggy Pop

"Heavy stuff" Gilles Peterson

Forward-thinking UK trio Vula Viel release their sophomore album, ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ on 25th January 2019, continuing their unique musical journey centred around the Gyil (Ghanaian xylophone).

The band’s new set confidently weaves sparse polyrhythms and intricate rhythm structures around bandleader Bex Burch’s Gyil lines and take the instrument’s sound into new territory, with bassist Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Melt Yourself Down, Rokia Traore) and drummer Jim Hart (Cloudmakers, Ralph Alessi, Electric Biddle) introducing a rough, post-punk edge to the band’s sound.

In Bex’s own words: “I have loved making this music. The incredible Dagaare systems which form the foundation have given me the structure on which to write tunes, craft grooves and choose my own meanings. I’ve gone deeper into what moves me in the Dagaare music, the fundamentals - asymmetry, space and chaos. I love how Do Not Be Afraid feels - a totally unusual and unique groove. As musicians, Ruth and Jim are incredible: They bring passion, talent, intuition and a depth that I wouldn’t have access to without them.”

Vula Viel was formed in 2013 by Bex Burch. After studying at Guildhall and training as a classical percussionist, she embarked on a life-changing three-year period living, farming and studying with xylophone master Thomas Segura in Upper West Ghana; the band’s name means ‘Good is Good’ in the Dagaare language. After being mentored in the deep traditions around the Gyil, a large African xylophone made of sacred lliga wood, Burch began the journey to bring the instrument into her own music. The acclaimed debut Vula Viel album in 2015, ‘Good is Good’, was the first realisation of her vision and ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ is the first set of Burch originals based on traditional Dagaare forms.

Described as “Ghanaian minimalism”, with the unassuming ability to blur the lines between atmospheres – Vula Viel’s sound may nod to Steve Reichian jazz, but influences don’t stop there: one can hear echoes of Bill Laswell and the irresistible energy of Arthur Russell.

On ‘Do Not Be Afraid’, the band bring a new confidence. The opening track, ‘Well Come’ is a strident, marching opener; the title track comforts the listener, urging them not to fear what they believe, hope and love. The track builds from delicate polyrhythms and gyil lines into a euphoric piece; ‘I Learn’ which sings out the line Dagaare line ‘Fo tu me na’ meaning ‘You insult me’ pounding out the way in which we learn from struggle. ‘Inside Mirror’ (‘Inside mirror, unworthily reflects you, ‘mere fraction of the real you’) hard hitting groove and awesome guest vocals from Rozie Gyems finishes the A side convincingly.
‘Fire’ start off side B delving deeper into this trio’s capabilities. Fire’s meaning is about the frustration and struggle and fire we all hold when life is hard and the amazing release and power of that when we keep going! ‘I Love You’, seemingly the album’s ballad, is a wild cyclic world of turning two simple lines upside down in groove and feel. ‘Breathe the Air’ has a spaciousness that makes you do just that, but don’t be fooled that this is light-weight. The album ends with unique ‘We Are’ a journey ending track, building cross-rhythms and melodies over an underlying pulse which everything breaks down to for the final line, ‘And I said to them, “Stay with me when I’m gone”, and they said “We Are”.’

“Beautiful .. Dance to it, Make Love to it, Consume it, Listen to it, Stare at the Clouds to it.. That music deserves good reactions!” Iggy Pop

"One of my discoveries for the London Jazz Festival.. Good is Good” Gilles Peterson

"They were the unexpected stars of a glitzy show " John Fordham, The Guardian (UK)

Financial Times ★★★★ | Songlines ★★★★ | Jazzwise ★★★★ | London Evening Standard ★★★★ |

"Funerals have never sounded so funky" Songlines
“like Portico Quartet on steroids” Jazzwise
"One of the most exciting young UK groups I've heard this year, Vula Viel" Jez Nelson, BBC


released January 25, 2019

Bex Burch: gyil
Ruth Goller: bass
Jim Hart: drums

Rozie Gyems: vocals (‘I Love You’, ‘Inside Mirror’)
Gwyneth Herbert: vocals (‘Fire’, ‘Do Not Be Afraid’, ‘We Are’)
Rita Ray: vocals (‘I Learn’)
Jim Hart, Ruth Goller, Bex Burch: vocals (‘I Learn’)
Zands Duggan: percussion (‘I Learn’)

All music and lyrics by Bex Burch. Published by Vula Viel Records
Written on traditional Dagaare forms

Produced by Matt Calvert and Bex Burch
Recorded at Cowshed Studios by James Johnston and Matt Calvert
Mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works

Artwork by Arthur Boer

Release managed by Bex Burch and Quinton Scott

For Chris, Good Is Good.

P 2019 Vula Viel Records
C 2019 Vula Viel Records

Made in Germany


all rights reserved



Vula Viel London, UK

Vula Viel -
Vula Viel means Good is Good in Dagaare. Gyil, drums, bass.


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Track Name: Do Not Be Afraid
Do Not Be Afraid
Do Not Be Afraid of what you believe
be afraid of not believing
Do not be afraid of what you hope,
be afraid of not hoping.
Do not be afraid of what you love,
be afraid of not loving.
Track Name: I Learn
Fo Tu Me Na
Track Name: Inside Mirror
Whose voice is that?
N Kyene yell ku me
But here now I have a story to tell
N Kyene yell ku me
The ancestors are in on it
N Kyene yell ku me
But here now I have a story to tell
N Kyene yell ku me

Inside mirror
Unworthily reflects you
Inside mirror
'mere fraction of the real you
Internal mirror
Unworthily reflects you
Internal mirror
'mere fraction of the real you
Track Name: Fire
A gift to know you
feel loved even when I fall
or fail, or forget.
Track Name: I Love You
I'm sorry
Please forgive me
I love you
Thank you

We all speak a different language
When you don't leave.
Difference is dignity.
Track Name: We Are
And I said to them
"Stay with me when I'm gone"
and they said
"we will."

And I said to them
"Stay with me when I'm gone"
and they said
We Are
We Are

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