Gigs, dance, art

September 12th, 2008: The Ex & Getatchew Mekuria

@cabaret sauvage

Before the gig itself, there was a stationary marching band — if that makes sense — in front of the venue, the final performance after a master class by the Surnatural Orchestra. The conducting in itself was quite interesting, both from the gestures and from the fact that a musician would at times leave his or her instrument behind for a while to conduct. The music was better than I would have expected from such a project, with my favorite moment when there were some voices involved. I guess I would have been getting more impatient if I hadn’t seen Terrie Ex, Colin McLean, Getatchew Mekuria and Melaku Belay still hanging out outside nearby.

I know it’s my fourth time seeing The Ex this year, and I saw them with Getatchew less than one year ago. But it just doesn’t get old. And even though I usually sulk in the back of any venue, I again ended up right next to the stage. That was deliberate, and for the most part because of Melaku Belay and my being vertically challenged. For the most part, it was pretty close to last year’s performance, and thus to the most excellent record they cut together. In my opinion, it was even better.

There were many reasons for that. Xavier Charles was a factor, especially a rousing solo that Getatchew seemed to enjoy. Speaking of which, he again seemed so happy to be here, enjoying his and the others playing, his interactions with each of the others was a heartwarming sight. And anyway, Getatchew Mekuria alone is well worth hearing, as he proved when he performed a solo, and another time with just Katherina. But the best was when all were involved, with different elements just working so amazingly well together, from the Terrie/Andy sonic fights to Jos’ commanding voice to the warm brass sound.

And then there was Melaku Belay. His first appearance was all about shoulder shaking, and he even brought a guy from the audience on stage, possibly from Ethiopia as well from the shoulder moves. His second involved an amazing display of balance while throwing his legs up and front, and of humor when he grabbed his outstretched leg and air guitared with it while Terrie and Andy were in full swing. He’s great as a dancer, but what made his performance so special for me was his interacting with the others. And that reached a climax with his next appearance, with a stick and a curved knife. What he did with those was good enough, but when he handed the stick to G.W. Sok and they spent some time moving in synch that image was a perfect summary of what made this performance special.

Nothing at all like the arranged weddings world music stuff can be made of, this was a real meeting of real people who are both open and confident enough to be themselves and interact in a way that enriches everyone, including lucky bystanders like me. The only regret I have is of not having been convincing enough to have people I care about come and see this. Maybe some did, but I don’t think so.


September 13, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment