R&B, hip-hop, dancehall, trap, afrobeat, funk… it seems like no matter what genre Kirsten Azan—aka Bambii—spins, this rising Canadian DJ star manages to tie it all together into a contagious dance euphoria. In her home town of Toronto, she runs the LGBTQ-friendly club / block party JERK, on a mission to bring together party lovers from the city’s various cultural stratospheres. But in recent years, Bambii’s calendar has been filling up with gigs around the globe, both solo and as support for superstars like Snoop Dogg and Mykki Blanco. This spring, Bambii will release her debut EP filled with her own music.
If you are lucky, you might see him playing for spare change on Istanbul’s famous pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi. But wedding parties and circumcision ceremonies are Cüneyt Sepetçi’s real home ground. Always dressed to the nines, he is the mustachioed clarinet virtuoso taking Turkish-Roman music to the next level. Notes jump giddily out of his instrument, but when the rhythm pushes everything to a climax, Cüneyt Sepetçi can make his clarinet scream in all the right moments. He is backed by manic drum rhythms and a keyboardist who conjures up an endless stream of manneristic microtonal riffs. These are updated party versions of old Turkish and Roma melodies—but now and then Sepetçi sneaks in odd tunes like Dick Dale’s Misirlou, suavely reminding us of surfrock’s connections to Turkish music.
A piano, a few simple chords. A voice: “Are you coming back? I’m waiting.” Notes bubble. It sounds as if Alice Boman is at the bottom of the ocean, enticing us to let go and sink into the depths of her sound world. A place where dreams begin. Contours are softened, a brittle saxophone swims around, and in the distance we can just about make out the ticking rim shots of a snare drum, a pulse setting waves in motion.
Alice Boman is a singer-songwriter from Malmö. Her first EP Skisser was recorded at home in her bedroom, without any thought of an official release. Since then, she has produced a number of EPs and singles which have received critical acclaim in, among others, The New York Times, Billboard, and KEXP. Her music can also be heard in TV series such as Transparent and Suits, and in the movie Paper Towns.
Her musical journey began in earnest with the experimental pop group Mùm. She left the band to continue her cello studies, graduating with Master degrees in both classical music and improvisation. Since then, Gyða Valtýsdóttir has created music for film, art installations, dance performances, and collaborated with musicians such as The Kronos Quartet, Josephine Foster and Damien Rice, as well as artist Ragnar Kjartansson. At Clandestino Festival, she will play her own compositions from her latest record Evolution. The album was nominated for the Nordic Music Prize and won album of the year in the Icelandic Music Prize.
Maqam: a centuries-old music tradition from the Middle East. Musicians devote their lives to mastering complex improvisations, often on bowed and string instruments, tambourine, and t drum. The real virtuoso is usually the singer, almost always male. So it’s doubly unlikely that today, while Maqam languishes in Iraq, a woman living in the Netherlands has emerged as its biggest star, even earning the title The Mother of Maqam. Farida Mohammad Ali grew up in Karbala, a city where women were allowed to become musicians, and was encouraged by her parents to follow her dreams. She studied under masters such as Munir Bashir, Hussein El Hazami, and her husband Mohammed Gomar, who currently plays in her group. After moving to Utrecht, Farida Mohammad Ali started the Iraqi Maqam Foundation to pass on both the music and the Arabic and Iraqi poetry that is such an integral part of Maqam.