Gigs, dance, art

September 12th, 2009: Hank Jones & Cheick Tidiane Seck / Mahmoud Ahmed / Alemayehu Eshete

@la villette

I had been hearing about Alemayehu Eshete for a while so I was very happy to hear him at last. I was not disappointed, he’s a wonderful singer, yet another gem from Ethiopia. What eludes me is why they would have these performers play for a seated audience. Well, nice try, but it didn’t last the whole set. Some security types did try to tell people to sit down, but they gave up in a hurry. It will probably be the same next year in Nanterre, I guess I should check whether there’s another stop planned. Anyway, the set included quieter moments that showcased his voice a little better in my opinion. A nice buildup throughout, and when he introduced Mahmoud Ahmed I was relieved there wouldn’t be any break. Another great voice, and an amazing performer, Mahmoud Ahmed proceeded to turn it up yet another notch. I was talking with a couple of guys from Ethiopia after the show, who said he never misses a chance to hear him, and I totally understand. His recordings are nice, but they just don’t compare to the actual experience. On the downside, he said that there were very few Ethiopians in France, meaning such shows are rare, and the many performers just don’t stop around here. This is just wrong. This awesome set would have been my favorite of the festival but for my having seen Mahmoud Ahmed before, and this Tribe set opening new vistas.

I knew I would not be as impressed by Cheick Tidiane Seck and Hank Jones, because I’m just not that much into music from Mali. But I ended up enjoying it more than I thought. The set was for the most part about Seck and his band, but every single time Hank Jones was in front he brought a lot to the whole. His soloing was great on its own, and made sense in the context as well. The others were really good as well. Despite generally not liking this kind of music much, this was just good music, and the style definitely matters far less when it’s that good. A great way to end this festival, even though I missed the end because of work — yeah, on a Saturday night at close to 1am, long boring story, don’t get me started.


September 19, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , , , ,

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