Clandestino Festival proudly presents a concert where El Sistema meets three of Sweden’s most interesting artists. El Sistema was founded in Venezuela as a music school where children and young people in poor areas learn to play classical music. Sweden’s first El Sistema operation was started in 2010 in Hammarkullen through a collaboration between Angered’s kulturskola and the Gothenburg Symphony on the initiative of star conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Today, El Sistema is found in large parts of Sweden and around the world, but it is the very same El Sistema in Angered whose students make up the two orchestras in this one-off concert: the symphonic orchestra Los Angered and the hard-swinging Burnstein Orchestra. A total of fifty-nine pupils aged 9–19 will share the scene with El Perro del Mar, José González and Mariam The Believer, who choose a series of gems from their repertoires.
The sisters Melissa and Ophelia Hié grew up in a family of musicians. Early in their lives, they learned the music and dance of their family’s homeland of Burkina Faso, taught by their older brother and father. More specifically, they learned the music from the Turka culture, a small minority group of around 50,000 people. As the sisters started out as performers in their home town of Bordeaux, their interpretation of Turka music naturally began to be colored by urban beats, which can be heard as a mild flavoring. Les Sœurs Hié focus on the two-harmony singing and the polyrhythmic sounds of djembe drums and the balafon—a kind of West African marimba with traditions going back thousands of years. While a marimba normally consists of wood and metal, the balafon instead employs calabash fruits as resonators, providing its unique sound. Tones flow like drops of water in an interaction so tight that probably only the bonds of sisterhood could create it.
The concert takes place on the roof terrace at The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg. Free entry with a festival pass or The Museum of World Culture’s Club Card. No seat reservation, first come first served.
Jay Mitta is one of the producers from the now legendary Sisso Studios in Dar es Salaam. His debut album Tatizo Pesa was released by Nyege Nyege Tapes from Uganda—currently one of the world’s hottest labels for dance music. Thanks to their compilation Sounds of Sisso, European dance floors have also begun to vibrate to singeli rhythms. Hard, trashy, and above all fast: With tempos between 180–300 BPM, you would be hard pressed to come up with a more maxed out sound. The music is often crafted using rudimentary software, which has enabled a boom of new producers hailing from Dar es Salaam’s shanty towns. Singeli has also recently taken on the Tanzanian mainstream culture, with both poppy versions heard on the radio, and more raw variations—Jay Mitta included—where rap replaces the melodic singing.
Heavy hip hop beats meet ethnographic sound collages in the music of DJ Raph, one of the most exciting new names on the African experimental dance music scene. His debut album Sacred Groves was created while an artist in residence at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He was attracted to the picturesque Bavarian city due to its extensive archive of field recordings from colonial Africa. The plan was to use sound fragments from the past to create a kind of pan-African future music, cutting, pasting, and looping drum rhythms, wind instruments, and ritual singing from across the continent. But not just instruments—even the noise found in the old field recordings becomes a musical element in DJ Raph’s hypnotic patchwork of clubby dance rhythms.
22-year-old Bad Gyal’s route to world domination has been unlikely, to say the least. Born Alba Farelo, she grew up in Vilassar de Mar, near Barcelona. Newly enrolled at university and working part time at a call center, her life suddenly changed thanks to a hastily made video uploaded to YouTube, in which she interpreted Rihanna’s megahit Work in her characteristic mix of English, Spanish and Catalan. Millions of views led Spanish radio to pick up the track, and several more penned by Bad Gyal herself. Singing about sex and partying, her melancholy blend of reggaeton, dancehall, and trap has become the soundtrack for a new generation of party-goers on the Iberian Peninsula—and soon the rest of the world—hungry for dance and a good snog. She has most recently released a couple of mixtapes, followed by her first single Jacaranda which has been named the best song this year by Fact Magazine.
Tanzania currently boasts one of Africa’s most innovative scenes for electronic music. Along with Jay Mitta (also performing at this year’s edition of Clandestino Festival), Bamba Pana is a driving force within Dar es Salaam’s hottest collective, Sisso Studios—and is one of the pioneers of Singeli, the electronic dance music style dominating East African dance floors. His album Poaa (Nyege Nyege Tapes, 2018) got reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic excited, with one writer calling it “music for a new kind of humanity.” Teaming up with MC Makaveli, Bamba Pana delivers one of the most intense variants of Singeli: Razor sharp synth attacks looped at hyper-speed while digital rhythms buzz incessantly. You might even call this punk music—played on rusty machines from the future, in a steamy backyard in Dar es Salaam… and Gothenburg.