Posts Tagged ‘Kanda Bongo Man’
Between June and September 2012, the We Face Forward season celebrated West African art and music in Manchester and was a huge success. Subsequently, they have teamed up with the Manchester promoter and world famous Band on the Wall venue to produce a free app for the iPad that features a number of live video recordings and interviews taken at Band on the Wall, The Royal Northern College of Music, the Bridgewater Hall and many more.
The app is a perfect example of the ethos of Band on the Wall who make it their “charitable mission” to pass on the knowledge of other cultures and music. The app, which features Angélique Kidjo, AfroCubism, Kanda Bongo Man and many others are the first in what they hope to be a long line of musicians to feature on the app.
As well as preserving what was a successful We Face Forward season, the app also serves to entertain and educate those in the classroom and at home about West African music and art.
Designed to be user friendly, the app was also constructed to be able to play videos smoothly, regardless of whether the user is using a wifi or 3G connection. However, there is no compromise on quality with download speed and the app is supported by both AirPlay and Apple TV in order to give the opportunity for big-screen viewing.
With the intention of expanding the app to not only feature West African music and art but to feature other world cultures too, it is sure to become a valuable resource in the education of world music and art.
Photos of Zee Avi and Rhythm of Borneo by Pien Lee/Sarawak Tourism
“How you doing Rainforest?” I rather like being addressed as a piece of flora and fauna in the magnificent ecosystem around us in Sarawak. Against the backdrop of the forest, I’m watching Zee Avi, the headline artist on the first night of the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia. One of the songs she sings tells the legend of Santubong, the mountain on the island of Borneo at the foot of which the festival takes place. A few brief notes, then, from the Rainforest Festival held this last weekend (July 13-15).
The days are hot but the evenings are balmy, although occasionally there are showers of rain. This isn’t the rainy season, but it is the rainforest. One of the highlights of the whole weekend was String Sisters, six female fiddles – Catriona MacDonald (Shetland), Liz Knowles (Scotland), Emma Härdelin (Sweden), Annbjørg Lien (Norway), Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Liz Carroll (US) who rightly got an ecstatic reception on Friday night.
Other class acts were Khusugtun (Mongolia), Orexa TX (Basque Country), Mamadou Diabaté (Burkina Faso) and, closing the festival, Kanda Bongo Man (Congo) – the ringmaster of rumba in his black jacket, rimmed hat and a band fizzing with guitar licks. The atmosphere was electric.
I was particularly interested to see some of the local bands. Last year the festival started the Rainforest Festival Talent Search – a competition for local bands. The prize is a slot in the festival. This year’s winners were Nading Rhapsody, a Sarawak-based group playing contemporary arrangements of folk songs in several of the local languages – Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu and Malay. They are very dynamic onstage and attracted a young audience. Last year’s winners, Rhythm of Borneo, I liked even more. They are based on peninsula Malaysia and use several types of Malaysian drums and gamelan-like gong chimes (caklempong) to play the melody. I can see this group going down well at festivals anywhere in the world.
But the big discovery was the young Sarawak-born singer Zee Avi. She’s a big star back home because she’s made it big abroad – rather like the Indonesian singer Anggun, who lives in France. Zee Avi – in her 20s – lives in New York and came to fame thanks to a YouTube hit in 2007. She’s since played countless festivals and gave her first gig back in Sarawak last year. Singing in English and Malay, she is small but full of a quirky energy. For the Rainforest gig, she referenced tribal clothing with a typical Iban collar of beads, and included local instruments and musicians in the set. A real discovery. I hope she can do well without becoming too bland and mainstream.
We have two pairs of weekend tickets to Musicport Festival, which take place Novemeber 4-6, to give away. The festival is held in The Spa, Bridlington and has a killer line-up including Hugh Masekela with The Mahotella Queens, Vusi Mahlasela, Thandiswa & Zolani Mahola, Mari Boine, Mercedes Peon, Kanda Bongo Man, Namgyal Lhamo, Claudia Aurora, Huong Thanh, and Iain Matthews.
To enter the competition, please visit our Facebook competition here and fill out the form before Oct. The winners will be notified through email thereafter.
Please note that accommodation and travel is not included. For full festival line-up and details on accommodation visit: www.musicportfestival.co.uk