12:30 PM: Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa
Aziz Sahmaoui & University Of Gnawa puts electric guitars and keyboards on an equal footing with Sahmaoui’s gimbri, gnawa’s signature instrument, and its West African forerunner, the ngoni, while never overwhelming either of them—and keeps Maghrebi percussion instruments at the center of things.
Its leader aside, University Of Gnawa is mostly composed of Senegalese musicians: guitarist Hervé Samb, bassist Alioune Wade (a longtime member of Niger-born, Senegalese-based guitarist and singer Ismaël Lô’s band) and keyboards and kora player Cheikh Diallo. These Senegalese musicians allow Sahmaoui to dig deep into gnawa’s pre-Moroccan roots.
The music is an intoxicating affair, visceral and groove-centric yet also nuanced and multilayered. Sahmaoui’s vocals—rich and throaty, without the nasal edge associated with older gnawa singers—are welcome features. His lyrics address modern challenges such as poverty and warfare through a folkloric prism.
2:00 PM: Karolina Cicha
Karolina Cicha is a singer-songwriter and a one-woman-orchestra, playing many instruments at once and singing in an idiosyncratic and self-developed style. Her career started with solo concerts. The live album “Karolina Cicha / Koncert” is a document of that period. In 2009 she started a band and that’s when her adventure with rock music began. First, she recorded two tracks for “GAJCY” – an album of musical interpretations of the poems of Tadeusz Gajcy (published by Warsaw Uprising Museum). According to the “Interia” website ranking, her song “Miłość bez jutra” (“Love with no tomorrow”) was one of the ten best polish rock songs of 2009:
Since then she has recorded two albums: “DO LUDOŻERCÓW” (with lyrics of Tadeusz Rożewicz) and “WAWA2010.PL”, a collection of songs about Warsaw, where she sang duets with stars of the Polish alternative scene (Tomasz Budzyński, Tymon Tymański, Jorgos Skolias, Mamadou, Olaf Derglasoff, “Titus” of Acid Drinkers, Czesław Mozil and others). “MIĘKKIE MASZYNY” was the third album in her discography – and the first to include some of her own lyrics. In 2013 with Bart Pałyga she published “9 Languages” album with the traditional songs in languages spoken by people living in northeast Poland.
3:30 PM: Boogat
Based in Montreal, Boogat is a rapper, writer and producer. From 1996 to 2001 he was the frontman for the underground hip-hop group Andromaick. Under the name Daniel Russo Garrida, he put a first solo disc, Tristes et belles histoires (2004), later switching to the stage name Boogat. From 2004 to 2009, he performed with the Movèzerbe collective. In 2010, he undertook a post hip-hop project in Spanish, putting out a mixtape, Que Pegue Duro y Violento, that featured an intense urban sound, a blend of nueva cumbia and dancehall. He also began producing other artists. His collaborations include Poirier, Roberto López Project, and many musicians on the Quebec hip-hop scene, as well as in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. El Dorado Sunset came out in 2013
5:00 PM – La Chiva Gantiva
La Chiva Gantiva began in Brussels when three young Colombian students started to play percussion together. Driven by a desire to assert their roots, they began to blend Afro-Colombian rhythms with other styles of music they loved: rock, afrobeat, and funk. Soon joined by four other musicians (two Belgians, a Frenchman and a Vietnamese), they started performing around the world, and their exciting, explosive show conquered media and public alike.
Signed to Crammed Discs, La Chiva Gantiva released their second album, “Vivo”, in February 2014. Recorded in their own studio (which they built for the occasion, upstairs from a bar in central Brussels), “Vivo” was mixed in New York by Joel Hamilton (Blakroc, Sparklehorse, Marc Ribot, Bomba Estereo) with the band’s two main composers, vocalist Rafael Espinel and guitarist Felipe Deckers.
While the album’s powerful sound reflects La Chiva Gantiva’s incredible live energy, their “frenetic carnival-punk racket that detonates like a Molotov cocktail of rock, rap, soul and ferociously funky Latin rhythms (as described by The Times), “Vivo” also contains songs in which the band further explore several musical directions, such as traditional percussion patterns and new sonic territories, while remaining grounded in their trademark rock/afrobeat fundamentals, punctuated by exuberant horn riffs.