After 4 years as a Montreal resident, I was finally able to make it last night to the Jazz festival (I was travelling outside of the country for the last 3 summers), and what a night it was! First we heard the great music of Simon Shaheen & Qantara. Shaheen, an arabian oud and violin maestro plays an engaging mixture of jazz, world beat, latin rythms and classical arab music. There were a lot of bellies happily dancing in front of the stage last night! I first discovered the oud, a beautiful middle eastern instrument that sounds and looks a little like a mandolin, with the music of the Anouar Brahem Trio. Their CD called Astrakan CafÃ¯Â¿Â½ is one of my all time favorites, an album I often listen to while working on articles or writing this blog. I hope Anouar Brahem will be invited to a future edition of the jazz festival.
We walked around, taking in the crowd and catching a glance of punk looking portugese singer Mariza, and made it in front of the stage in time for the mind blowing performance of Bauchklang. These 6 austrian guys are alone on stage. No instrument, no beat box, nothing but microphones. With the sole contribution of their voices, they produce some of the hotest « electronic » techno sounding music I’ve had a chance to hear. When they started doing their amazing a capella performance, I closed my eyes and in a second, I forgot that there was no band or d.j. on stage.
When we first talked about going to that show, E. was afraid that the novelty effect would wear off after a couple of songs, but we were both surprised to see that it didn’t. Bauchklang’s compositions are good and their sense of rythm and knowledge of techno and musical experimentation goes far from the simple imitation of a beat box. As they explain on their web site « Bauchklang is not about imitating or satirizing instruments, it’s about discovering and creatively using the infinite variety of human voice. » The energy in their performance was contagious. The young, rave looking crowd went crazy and called back the group for 5 encores.
To get an idea of their talent, listen to some of the mp3 files available on their web site, particularly Don’t ask me, Fire below, and the trippy I Transmission. If you want to be able to compare their performance with a song you already know, listen to their version of Sting’s Roxanne.
They will perfom again tonight in Montreal at the Metropolis, and then they move on to Le Festival d’Ã¯Â¿Â½tÃ¯Â¿Â½ de QuÃ¯Â¿Â½bec, where I’m sure the crowds will go crazy once again!