When the Somali civil war broke out, Sahra Halgan was a teenager with dreams of being a singer. She soon found herself working as a singing nurse for the rebels fighting for Somaliland’s liberation from Siaad Barre’s regime. She arrived in Lyon, France as a political refugee in 1992, where she worked in a café and as a musician. Today, she is back in Somaliland where she runs a center for musicians and poets. Considered an icon to many in her home region, her unique, clear voice with its powerful vibrato is synonymous with the freedom struggle. But instead of resting on her laurels, Sahra Halgan wants to use her music to spread the word about Somaliland—a self-proclaimed state not recognized internationally. She still has strong ties to Europe, not least through the two remaining members of her trio, Aymeric Krol and Mael Saletes. Together, they create a global Somaliland music with seriously funky drums and electric guitar.
When KOKOKO! exploded the dance floor during their concert at Clandestino Festival 2017, they were unknown and had not even released a single. Since then, they have toured the globe, ruled at South by Southwest and signed with British label Transgressive. KOKOKO! is a collaboration between musicians from Democratic Republic of Congo French electronic groove maestro Débruit. During his first visit to the mega city of Kinshasa, he was first overwhelmed. Electric power kept failing all over the city, but music was heard in every street corner. The majority of musicians could not afford instruments but made use of whatever was at hand. So when Débruit met members of KOKOKO! and heard their complex techno jams on a xylophone made of plastic containers, accompanied by typewriter drums, he was fascinated. It was the start of a collaboration where Kinshasa’s street sounds merge with the electronic playfulness loved by Débruit’s fans. The result can be heard on the debut album Fongola, a futuristic party record beyond traditions and clichés about African music.
Taiwanese-Canadian musician and actor Alex Zhang Hungtai is something of a musical chameleon: Under the moniker Dirty Beaches, he combined dissonant indie love songs with pomade-shiny rock ‘n’ roll aesthetics. Just as the hype machine started, he shed his skin and turned into a sort of jazz musician using the name Last Lizard. Only to reappear in Love Theme, a drone trio – and as a member of a fictional band in the second incarnation of David Lynch’s TV series Twin Peaks. Somewhere along the way, he began playing the saxophone, practiced for four years and wrote music on the new instrument which he refers to as failed, in the sense that it does not live up to the expectations of others. Gradually, a new idea emerged: To free oneself from the limitations that exist in everyone’s own narratives of who we are and what we do – and in his case what kind of musician he was. By sampling, EQ’ing and stretching the sound waves from the saxophone, Alex Zhang Hungtai created a maze of mysterious yet inviting sounds that make up the album Divine Weight. The songs can be described as sound sculptures carved out of a few blocks of sounds: Seemingly large swells of choruses, wind instruments and church organs.
Dear friends in Europe,
After consulting many friends in the EU, due to the coronavirus situation and the fear of unaffordable testing, potential quarantine hospital bills here in the US, I’ve decided to postpone the tour. Once everything is back to normal I hope to make it out to Europe again. Please be safe, and remember to extend a helping hand if you see any verbal or physical abuse against people in public due to the racism incited by the virus. In times like this, our humanity is being put to the test on full display.
Colombian artist Lucrecia Dalt has gone from experimental indie pop to creating deeper levels of abstraction, inspired by geology, among other things. She also lets South American rhythms, voice experiments, and innovative electronic solutions guide her way to her own very unique kind of music. Tickets
Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) är ett audiovisuellt live-projekt som utgörs av den libanesiskeproducenten och musikern Radwan Ghazi Moumneh och den Montreal-baserade filmskapare Erin Weisgerber. Duons performance kan beskrivas som en omslutande upplevelse bestående av ljud och visuella element, som strävar efter att skapa en modern, experimentell arabisk musik som gifter sig med handgjorda bilder skapade på analog 16-milimetersfilm på platsspecifika skärminstallationer.
Weisgerber manipulerar de fotografiska, kemiska och materiella egenskaperna i filmen för att omvandla den värld som ramas in av hennes kamera: skapar rytmiska bilder mellan former och abstraktion, yttre vision och inre landskap. Hon framför film- och ljudslingor live på flera projektorer. Tickets
The band’s intention was to make heavily groovy Electronic Body Music in the spirit of D.A.F., but something went awry. Sure, they’ve got the primitive synth sounds and hard marching drums. But at the same time, the music of Gothenburg based trio Vanligt Folk is so far out weird that it reaches far beyond nostalgia for black-clad fans of 80’s synth. Influences from dancehall and dub mix with punky chaos and a drummer playing frantically with both shoes and head instead of sticks on occasion. Themes such as nationalism, racism and the significance of the hambo dance for the Swedish working class of the 20th century can be found in lyrics as bizarre as they are brilliant – like a fever-induced nightmare in a Roy Andersson film. This spring, Vanligt Folk release the new album Allt E’nte, a record that the group sees as a response to the demand for politicization of musical expression: “We’re hoping that Allt E’nte is as out of date in 200 years as it is today”.
A Finnish Tom Waits? Perkele blues? Swamp rock, accordion, melancholy and tango undertones. Faarao Pirttikanga’s music comes in many incarnations, depending on which of his groups happens to be joining him on stage (at Club Clandestino he is accompanied by the band Nubialaiset). However, his output is always dirty and raw. The drummer bangs on crooked cymbal while the trombone and saxophone squeeze out some sort of slippery ompah-ompah-meets-Mulatu Astatke riffs. The pharaoh’s square Bo Diddley style guitar swings along in a brutal shuffle while he spits out the lyrics in a Gollum-esque voice. And it doesn’t really matter that much whether the listener understands Finnish or not: The expression of the blues comes through nonetheless in songs that seem to life’s trials and misery, as if they were the old buddy’s.
Onipa means “human” in Akan, a language spoken by the Ashanti people in West Africa. This project was born out of a long-standing collaboration between two musicians: One calls himself K.O.G.: A songwriter, singer and virtuoso instrumentalist utilizing djembe drums as well as a percussive lunch tray. Born in Ghana but based in Sheffield, K.O.G. appears in numerous UK-based projects: house music, afrobeats and dancehall etc. The other member of the duo is Tom Excell, British guitarist, producer and songwriter also known from soul / jazz / afrobeat pioneers Nubiyan Twist – as well as collaborations with his own musical heroes Mulatu Astatke and Tony Allen. As Onipa, they have recorded a handful of EP’s: Bubbly afro-futuristic rhythms combined with magical soukous and hilife guitars, as well as influences from mali blues, South African township music, ragga, dancehall, Oumou Sangare, Konono No.1, Kokoko, Flying Lotus, Ebo Taylor, William Onyeabor and many more of our favorites. We Be No Machine, their debut album, will be released this spring.
Using the key fiddle, alto saxophone and drone synths, Siri Karlsson takes their audience on a journey through a dark, mysterious sound world. Experimental jazz, Nordic folk music, electronic sound infernos: It’s all there in Siri Karlsson’s compositions. Cecilia Österholm makes up one half of the duo: Her unique key fiddle sound has established her as a hot name on the Swedish folk music scene. Maria Arnqvist, on saxophone and synths, is known from collaborations in Swedish avant-garde jazz and psychedelia. In 2018, Siri Karlsson released the EP Ouaga Sessions, a delicate mix of Scandinavian folk jazz and West African blues sounds, recorded with Solo Dja Kabako in Burkina Faso. Siri Karlsson’s latest release Horror Vacui was partly created as a commissioning work for Sweden’s Radio P2. As a composition it is as fascinating as it is hard-categorized, drawing inspiration from the great geographical discoveries of the 16th and 17th centuries and how cartographers utilized science as well as imagination and mythology to fill the blank spots of maps.
Goat is a four piece group from Osaka, Japan. On a stripped-down drum set, thumpy bass, electric guitar and a saxophone with a coke bottle jammed into its bell, the group makes minimalist music without any lyrics, melody and subjective expression. Instead, Goat works with timbre and overtones, organized in complex rhythms – meticulously organized time, like minimal techno performed on rock instruments with an impressive precision. Guitarist Koshiro Hino writes Goat’s music, he has also been active in projects such as Bonanzas and as a live member of Boredoms. Since Goat played at the Clandestino Festival in 2016, the band has been reshaped with a new line up and has gone even deeper into an almost tribal rhythmicity. Their third album will be released during 2020, and this concert will offer tastings from it.
With psychedelic guitars, Miami Vice-esque synths and fat bass lines, Ultra Satan makes funky folk music from outer space. Or Freedom Rock, as this Gothenburg all star combo have called it. The band includes members from experimental and krautrock-inspired acts such as SPR, Fontän and Uran GBG, and on stage they have collaborated with Tentakel as well as visual artist Ekta. So far, Ultra Satan have released a handful of vinyl records in which they aim their syncopated punches against our contemporary treadmill work ethic, over-consumption, inequality and capitalism in general. Attentive listeners will find themes about tearing down the enslavement machine that is today’s society and building something more human in its place. However, this group is still able to mix philosophy with a punk attitude: like when they designed band t-shirts replacing the name in Västra Götaland county’s iconic green-blue logotype with their own, triggering a minor media storm.
American composer and performer Lea Bertucci’s work describes relationships between acoustic phenomena and biological resonance. In addition to her instrumental practice, (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), her work often incorporates multi-channel speaker arrays, electroacoustic feedback, extended instrumental technique and tape collage.
Her output includes a number of solo and collaborative releases on independent labels, as well as a commission for instrumental ensemble Tigue and a book of graphic scores entitled The Tonebook. Her most recent record Metal Aether (2018) was recorded in part in a former military base in Le Havre, France. Here, Lea Bertucci explores her acute interest in the nature of acoustics and the harmonic accumulation of sound, producing pulsing minimalist patterns, transcendent drones, and upper register squalls with her horn, which envelop the space in waves of overtones, microtones, and psychoacoustic effects. Tickets
This funky seven-man group was formed by Bamba Dembélé, originally designed as a tribute for the legendary Super Djata Band, a combo that rocked their homeland of Mali in the 70s. With refined balafon rhythms and polyphonic riffs, Bamba Wassoulou Groove have succeeded in reviving songs from both these and other Malian heroes with splendour: High life, desert blues and folk music from the Wassoulou region, as well as inspiration from American blues and soul, creates an exuberant mixture. With no less than three guitarists, the numerous terrific solos make up a great deal of the magic. But Bamba Wassoulou Groove also develops the genre further with new material which is just as exciting. Their new album “Dankélé” will be released on the label Lusafrica in 2020, and an early listen hints at a showcase of funky rhythms and fabulous guitar slinging taken to the next level.
She has been praised by greats like Caetano Veloso, and some describe her voice as a female version of Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits. Influences from French chanson, bossanova and Greek folk music can be heard in Lula Penas music, but Portuguese fado is always there at the core: Songs of missing and longing, once sung by sailors far away on the outskirts of the Portuguese empire. Fado is about being in motion, and as such has always been a style in change. In Lula Pena’s delicate interpretations, it blends with the words of medieval troubadours, surrealistic poetry and the soundtrack from The Twilight Zone. On the latest album Archivo Pittoresco, she sets music to poems by Manos Hadjidakis, Violeta Parra and others. With her deep voice and unique guitar playing (drumming on the box as much as strumming the strings sometimes), Lula Pena creates a style of her own, both low-key and intense. She has called it musical acupuncture: It is not so much about telling a story as it is about touching certain sensitive points in the audience.
She grew up in Wassoulou, a region in Mali, famous for its many outstanding female performers and for its melodic dance music. Her powerful voice was noticed by an official from the Malian ministry of culture, who invited Doumbia to sing at an important competition for young talent, which she won. Her victory marked the beginning of an international career now reaching its fifth decade. Her husband, guitarist Ngou Bagayoko, has been by her side throughout. They have shared the stage with greats such as Manu Dibango, Toure Kunda, and Miriam Makeba. Nahawa Doubmia’s lyrics have defended women’s rights and criticised polygamy. During the 1990s her sound was strongly influenced by Western pop music, and at the turn of the millennium she added electronic elements to her sound. Recently, Doumbia has returned to the traditional Wassoulou sound, where her unpolished tone soars, rising and falling to the accompaniment of bala, kamele ngoni, djembe, and acoustic guitar.