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Manchester funk-jazz-pop group Kalima, named after a late-'70s Elvin Jones song, didn't come out of nowhere when the band began in October 1983 -- in fact, Kalima didn't really begin at all. Instead it was the new name for the group Swamp Children, who had already recorded an album and some singles for Factory before the decision for a less dourly suggestive name was made. Otherwise the group's lineup remained initially unchanged -- singer Ann Quigley, bass player Tony Quigley, guitarist John Kirkham, sax player Cliff Saffer, and drummer Martin Moscrop. Moscrop recruited two of his fellow A Certain Ratio bandmates to assist -- pianist Andy Connell and bass/vibes player Jeremy Kerr -- while percussion player Chris Hornerman also joined the band, resulting in a seemingly unwieldy but still cohesive enough lineup that made its initial mark with a couple of singles and then the Night Time Shadows album. The group's distinctly non-stereotypically '80s Manchester sound -- not classically post-punk on the one hand, not the slowly congealing indie-dance approach on the other -- left the band to a small but passionate following and respect if not resultant commercial success. Moscrop and his fellow ACR members left the group in 1986, eventually replaced by saxophonist Matthew Taylor, flautist Bernard Moss and drummer David Higgins; with Saffer also out while Warren Sharples took over on bass, this lineup then recorded a self-titled, more brass-driven effort in 1988. Feeling Fine followed in 1990, featuring another revamped lineup -- drum/percussion section Higgins and Hornerman were replaced by Andy Boothman and Iain Alexander -- and continuing critical attention but no commercial breakthrough. In between these two albums was Firefly, a 1989 catchall collection of earlier singles and tracks, including some Swamp Children songs. After Feeling Fine and the attendant single "Shine" appeared, Kalima went into hibernation for over a decade, reappearing with a self-released album, In Spirit, in 2001, collecting some unreleased and rarer tracks but otherwise featuring new recordings of a stripped-down, three-person lineup of the Quigley siblings and Kirkham, the only three members in every incarnation of the group. A couple of years later the LTM label began a comprehensive reissue program of both Swamp Children and Kalima's Factory work. ~ Ned Raggett

Top Songs


Manchester, England

Years Active:

'80s, '10s