Labbe Grimelund and Finn Björnulfson are known as the drummer and percussionist in Håkan Hellström’s band. After their concerts with the West Swedish pop icon, at the after parties, they used to jam well into the night, sometimes with whoever happened to be the DJ that evening. Out of chaos and ecstasy a new concept emerged, a witches’ brew of drums, percussion and electronic rhythms. Factory Records and samba in a rattling Gothenburg accent. The step from those after-parties to the club scenes suddenly seemed perfectly logical – Enter Bongo Riot GBG.
One of the hottest new names on Uganda’s dance music scene is theDJ, activist, and writer Kampire Bahana. She is one of the core members of the Nyege Nyege collective, which arranges festivals and parties for those with curious ears as well as alternative lifestyles, as well as releasing experimental rhythm oriented music from East African on the label Nyege Tapes. Those who experienced Kampire’s label mates Bamba Pana & Makaveli at Clandestino Festival in June this year can testify about a legendary night where the dance floor was sweating to a marathon performance of 180 BPM and faster.
Born to Ugandan parents, Kampire grew up in Zambia’s copper belt, a place that gathered miners from near and far. There she soon discovered music and culture from all over the African continent, which would come to inspire her DJ sets: Kampire blends modern and traditional styles into an irresistible pan-African dance party. Tropical bass, kuduro, South African house, soukous and afrobeat … powerful, bass heavy music that won’t settle until everybody’s butt is shaking.
This project was born at the club Boutiq Electroniq in Kampala, Uganda. There, a group of percussionists who called themselves the Nilotika Cultural Ensemble used to perform, and in jam sessions with local DJs, a clash of dark techno, drones and frenetic live rhythms took place. The lmissing parts fell into place in 2017 when British drummer Spooky-J and synth player Peter Jones (pq) came to Uganda to visit the Nyege Nyege Festival. Their encounter with the seven percussionists led to Nihiloxica’s debut album, a journey deep into the tropical darkness of Bugandan techno. Their sophomore release Biiri came in the spring of 2019: By then, intensive touring had sharpened the groups sound further. The record is recorded live and gives a authentic picture of the intensity of Nihiloxica’s concerts. Here, traditional rhythms are given even more space in the encounter with dark drones and punk-jazzy undertones.
Otim Alpha is a former boxer and harpist Hailing from the city Gulu in Uganda. Together with producer Leo Palayeng, he can boast of having created acholitronix, a poly-rhythmic, joyous dance music for the future, melding electronic beats with old-fashioned wedding songs from the Acholi region of northern Uganda and southern Sudan. Adungu, nanga and other traditional harps, flutes and violins are used alongside synths and drum machines well upwards of 180 bpm, accompaning Otim Alpha’s singing: tireless, partly improvised. Due to influence of Christian missionaries, acholi music has long been banished to a peripheral existence in Uganda, and when Otim Alpha released their album Gulu City Anthems, it turned out that its mix of nostalgic and futuristic sounds was exactly what the local audience longed for. Africa’s arguably hottest record label Nyege Nyege Tapes swiftly recruted Otim Alpha to its stable, and soon the album spread like wildfire not only on that continent but also to our northern latitudes.
On Men Ana, the latest single from Alsarah and the Nubatones, their East African retropop ventures into new musical worlds: Delicate oud performances and traditional rhythm instruments meet electronic beats, psychedelic synths and jazzy bass playing. Alsarah was born in Sudan, but her family soon fled to Yemen. When that country too was affected by conflicts, they fled on to Massachusetts, USA. Alsarah began collecting tapes of Sudanese pop music from the 1980s, as a way to cling on to some part of her past. These were songs that have come to play an important role for the Sudanese diaspora. Only when she moved to Brooklyn as a young adult did she meet other musicians who shared her experiences as a refugee, and of the missing. And for the first time, she felt she could be both Sudanese and American. Alsarah and the Nubatones recorded songs such as “Nuban Uttu”, so-called homecoming songs, exclamations to bring together Nubians around the world. Alsarah has also released an album with French producer Débruit (Kokoko!) and collaborated with the Nile Project.
Singer/songwriter Jens Lekman was born in 1981 and grew up in the Hammarkullen suburb of Göteborg, Sweden. He has released five albums since 2004, with his latest, Life Will See You Now, arriving in 2017. Lekman devoted 2018 to the project Correspondence, a one-year musical exchange with Annika Norlin. Lekman will DJ at Klubb Clandestino, spinning Pakistani disco, Chilean synthpop, and boogaloo.
A producer and percussionist from Tunisia now living in Copenhagen, Nuri is one of the most promising upcoming musicians within African futurism, mixing deep bass and organic percussion with polyrhythmic grooves, sharing bills with names like Clap Clap and Dengue Dengue Dengue.
He recently released his debut album on Shouka, a label focusing on traditional music and contemporary electronics from North Africa and beyond. ‘’Drup’’ is a tribute to his African heritage. A bridge to other traditions, it comes replete with percussion and vocals from all over the mother continent and Asia. Combining it all with digital processing, Nuri amalgamates then with now.
On stage, Nuri is a masked witch doctor conducting a deep ritual––a journey into the lost roots of his homeland. Heritage, tribalism, organic sounds, melodies, and loads of emotion.
Çaykh is the DJ moniker of berlin-based and hamburg-born Nicolas Sheikholeslami who is also a member of the live & recording projects “Circuit Diagram“ and “Spiritczualic Enhancement Center“.
Eclectic are his musical interests and so are his DJ-sets & radio shows. Researches that than turned mixes covered regions like Turkey, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Africa, Sudan and Somalia. The latter research resulted in a teaming up with New York’s “Ostinato Records“ to co-produce the compilation Sweet As Broken Dates – Lost Somali Tapes From The Horn Of Africa, which recieved a nomination for best historical album at “Grammy Awards“ 2018.
Besides mixes and sets based on the region of it’s origin Çaykh also likes to play sets of music that tend to rather concentrate on a certain red thread or attribute that he senses in the selected music, regardless of it being spiritual Jazz, modular synth freak outs, or so-called traditional music from any region of the world.
For later this year his first 3-track solo vinyl release is scheduled on Manchester’s “Natural Sciences“ label.
When singer Mariam Wallentin visited Fasching last year, it was as Mariam The Believer. Bewildered, SvD’s Dan Backman gushed about her “colorful and crooked and absolutely lovely” performance.
The same can be said about Mariam Wallentin’s and Andreas Werliin’s duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums. The guiding star here is crooked and transcendent, too—together they blend pop and blues seamlessly with powerful drumming and fervent, ritualistic vocals.
After a few self-published CDs in the mid-noughties, which gained acclaim from both critics and audiences, the duo went on to record The Snake at Svenska Grammofonstudion. After sessions in Iceland collaborating with cellist Hildur Gu∂nadóttir, Ben Frost, and Valgeir Sidur∂sson led to an EP, they then stripped back on the album Rhythm—sounding direct, naked and raw.
Despite these impressive recordings, one should really experience Wildbirds & Peacedrums live. Their stage presence is formidable, confident. They’ve had plenty of time to sculpt their live expression, having toured with, among others, Lykke Li, Arcade Fire, Joanna Newsom and St Vincent. They have even performed a tribute to Björk during the Polar Prize ceremony in Stockholm, and were invited by Nils Frahm to perform at The Barbican.
In other words, this duo is not lazing about. Both Wallentin and Werliin are also involved in Fire! Orchestra, and Werliin plays drums for another Fasching favorite: The Abuse. But Wildbirds & Peacedrums is what they hold most dear—no one else really sounds like them, so don’t miss out!
Tickets 31 maj. With a festival pass there’s a 50% discount (use code clandestino).
The man with the headscarf and distorted Flying V guitar is Anana Harouna. He is a Tuareg from Niger, previously known as a member of arguably the most famous desert blues band around, Tinariwen. He formed Kel Assouf—meaning both “nostalgia” and “son of eternity” in the Tamashek language—in his current home base, Brussels. With one foot in the Sahara and the other in Europe, this band has embarked on a journey through different styles and expressions. Haruna’s own life story serves as a lyrical starting point, depicting injustice in post-colonial North Africa. The band’s keyboard player/producer is none other than Sofyann Ben Youssef, the mastermind behind projects such as AMMAR 808 (Clandestino Festival 2018). On their latest album Black Tenere, Kel Assouf has scaled down to a tight power trio, setting the music of the nomads on fire with hypnotic riffs, hard rocking drums, and droning synths.
Support: DJ Livsfarligt
Tickets 25 maj. With a festival pass there’s a 50% discount (use code ekwiri).