counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

March 24th, 2009: The Ex / Ililta Band

@café de la danse

My main motive in going there was that Mesele Asmamaw was part of the Ilalta Band, because he had been great when he played with the late Mohammed Jimmy Mohammed. Asnake Gebreyes was the third member of that trio and he was there too, so it looked very promising. And the show was great indeed. Mesele Asmamaw and Asnake Gebreyes played the first couple of songs on their own, with the latter singing, and this opening was just beautiful. Then Chalachew Ashenafi joined them, singing and played masinqo, and even though he doesn’t have the charisma Jimmy had, he’s a very talented musician and this was so good I was left wondering at the lack of warmth of the audience. After a couple of songs he left the stage for a few others before coming back for the last few ones. The music got progressively faster and more upbeat, and at long last I was no longer isolated in clapping. They turned on their showmen selves to bring everyone standing and singing, which probably is second nature to them. Great show, despite the not ideal setting.

I was curious about Arnold de Boer being the new singer for The Ex. It promised to be very different and it was. He had the good idea to be himself and not try to ape G.W. Sok at all, which was good because he would have been hard pressed to reach that level of intensity and authority. He was in front and center, and was probably closer to singing that anything I heard from The Ex. Right now I’d say I liked it better before, but it will definitely take some getting used to, and I wasn’t there to think about the past. His obvious difference helped a lot in that respect, and the only time I was annoyed by his voice was at the very end, during Theme From Konono, and really that was because I felt he missed the point of the parts that were an obvious reference to Konono n°1. His playing guitar definitely brings something to the band, probably making Andy Moor and Terrie Ex even freer to explore, but bringing a new sound as well. I’d say it’s a good thing, but I felt the set was a bit too consistent and lacked some of the change in direction I’ve seen them pull off before. Time will probably help with that, and the set was good enough to have me willing to come back for more next time.

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March 27, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , , , ,

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