12:30 PM: Tal National
By the time Tal National reached international acclaim with 2013’s ‘Kaani’, the band’s first release outside of Niger, they had spent more than a decade crisscrossing their native country, usually on dirt pathways through the Sahara, playing epic five-hour sets, seven days a week, selling their CDs on street corners and roundabouts. In the process, they became Niger’s most popular band, with songs constantly blasted on national TV and cell phones everywhere. Following FatCat’s release of ‘Kaani’, Western audiences and critics quickly embraced the band’s singular and finely-honed sound. NPR was hit by “the band’s tightness and fiery energy”; The Guardian praised “their full-tilt approach, and hypnotic intensity”; and Songlines wrote of “a rich, hybrid sound that draws on familiar West African elements to create something rewardingly fresh and different”.
Niger borders Nigeria, Mali and Ghana. Collected within this former French colony are Songhai, Fulani, Hausa, and Tuareg populations, all of whom are represented in the membership of Tal National. As such, the nation enjoys a greatly varied mix of cultures and ethnicities, all richly steeped in music. It is no stranger to highlife, kora and afrobeat musics, while giving the world Tuareg Blues and a unique brand of hip-hop. In Tal National’s music can be heard the rolling 12/8 rhythms in the Hausa’s fuji percussion, the pensive aridity of the Tuareg’s assouf and the exquisite griot guitar of Mali’s Songhai, all delivered with virtuoso precision and unrelenting energy. After listing ‘Kaani’ in its top 10 albums of 2013, The New York Times wrote that “the music keeps leaping ahead with one surprise after another: guitar parts that align and diverge and reconfigure, drumming that pounces on offbeats. The patterns are crisp, complex and tireless.”
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.