David Corio

Neneh Cherry

Singer in Rip Rig & Panic
In a squat on Ladbroke Grove, London, UK

I’d grown up near Bristol and knew some of the people on the music scene there. Many of them moved to London in the late 1970s including members of the Pop Group, Pigbag and Maximum Joy. They had fluid line-ups and bands formed and disappeared at a rapid rate. Neneh Cherry was also a part of this scene. I had photographed the experimental funky jazz band Rip Rig & Panic many times in concert but this was the first of several portrait sessions soon after Neneh had become their lead singer who improvised lyrics in a loose rap style. I photographed the 17 year old Neneh in a cold, damp squat she shared off Ladbroke Grove with other band members. She was mature for her age having had a cosmopolitan life liviing with step-father jazz trumpeter Don Cherry in Sweden, England and the US.

She found commercial success with ‘Buffalo Stance’ in 1988 - a hit around the globe showcasing her rapping ability. She was never destined to have a conventional music career favouring collaborations with Bristol’s Massive Attack and Tricky; Youssou N’Dour Gorillaz and works as a dj and participated in a television cookery show.

Neneh Cherry