Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vieux Farka Toure/Elikeh/Farafina Kan - Rock'n'Roll Hotel - June 22 2009

Farafina Kan - A local ensemble comprised of six men drumming with one playing an exotic African stringed instrument and five women singing, dancing and percussing. They play the music of Mali and other West African countries. Obviously the rhythms are key, but melodies come through. The vocals are call and response style as I try to sound like the expert I am not (although I recognized some traditional dance moves as I've seen some dance companies many moons ago). The performers were excellent and the music was moving and had the large crowd off to a great start.

Elikeh - Three guitars, two drummers (one trad, one kit) Bass and two brass players took the stage and played kind of a Soca-rock thing as best I can describe. I really need my world-beat expert buddy from Dayton (DJ Rev. Cool aka Jim Carter) to help me with the details. Another nice effort from this local band.

Vieux Farka Toure - Between Bonaroo and festivals in SF and Detroit, Mr. Toure is touring the country and is not to be missed. He's a great guitarist playing snakey and ringing lines in an African fusion rock style which is hard to describe. It reminded me of George Clinton with the interesting style combinations and guest musicians moving in and out of the songs (some from the opening bands, others from parts unknown). His basic band is himself on vocals and electric guitar with an acoustic guitar, bass, drummer on kit and drummer on traditional drums. Big sound even with the smaller lineup and strong powerful music. Not always intricate, sometimes focused on power, other times on mood, but it had me hooked from beginning to end.

Quote of the Night: Quiet night and I can't hear in loud clubs even though I am sure there is bizarre conversation going on around me. After getting assistance with the English wording(?), Vieux Farka Toure said that "everyone's the same, brother-sister, you know..."

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