Posts Tagged ‘Monsieur Doumani’

Live Review | Globaltica, Poland July 20-23

Posted on July 26th, 2016 in Live, Recent posts by .

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free
Six great things about Globaltica, World Cultures Festival, in Gdynia, Poland

1. The main site is just five minutes walk from a pristine beach on the Baltic Sea.

2. A weekend ticket costs around €10

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free1

3. Over four days, in a relaxed and intimate setting you can get a taste of music from all over the world. This year the line-up included Balkan brass masters Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania; Damily from Madagascar, playing infectious tsapiky dance music; the cheeky Monsieur Doumani trio from Cyprus; kora and talking drum maestro Diabel Cissokho (pictured right) from Senegal and the remarkable Rancho Aparte, with squealing clarinets, euphonium and powerful percussion from Colombia. Not forgetting Songlines’ favourites, the father, son and daughter trio from Poland, Kapela Maliszow. Traditional music that is vibrant and evolving, which is what Globaltica is about.

4. The celery and ginger drink from the Beetle Juice van (Sok z Zuka) is just divine.

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free2

5. Turkish musician Tahir Palali (pictured right with singer Cigdem Aslan) describes Globaltica as a mini-WOMAD but nicer, because it’s more chilled out. It was a rare opportunity to see him and singer Cigdem Aslan sing spiritual songs from the Alevi tradition. “We Alevis don’t go to the mosque,’’ she says, “but we gather in places like this.’’  We’re in barn-like old stables, and the performance is intimate and intense. Palali’s plucked tembur, with just three strings, is delicate but profound. There’s a simplicity and intensity that takes you to a higher place. “The consciousness that created the universe is within you,’’ he says and his tembur with Aslan’s melismatic voice seems to bring that consciousness closer.

6. Gdynia is Europe’s best location for modernist architecture. The port city was built in little more than a decade from 1926 until World War II as Poland’s ‘window to the world’. In 1928 it handled just one per cent of Poland’s trade, but by 1937 it controlled 49%. The architecture of the city is still dominated by the clean, white, unornamented style of the pre-war period. Easy access from the UK with direct flights from London to Gdansk, just 45 minutes away.

Globaltica-©Simon Broughton-Free3

Globaltica was held on July 20-23 2016. For more information, visit


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Live Review | Songlines Encounters Festival, Kings Place, June 4

Posted on June 5th, 2015 in News, Recent posts by .


Photography by Haydn Wheeler

Read our review of Friday (June 5) with Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat, Duncan Chisholm and Afriquoi
Read our review of Saturday (June 6) with Shikor Bangladesh All Stars, Lokkhi Terra and She’Koyokh

Simon Broughton reports on the excellent artists performing at the first evening of Songlines Encounters Festival

Songlines Encounters Festival kicked off with our favourite Cypriot trio: a turban, a top-knot and a flat cap. These were Antonis, Demetris and Angelos, otherwise known as Monsieur Doumani. Do they perhaps represent the Sufi, the hippie and the labourer? Whatever, they play a wonderful reworking of traditional Cypriot repertoire and numbers of their own.

The common theme last night was Southern European musical cultures with a twist. Monsieur Doumani have a love of the tradition but delivered with a mischievous irreverence. Their song ‘The Bland’ is directed at politicians who don’t do what they preach. But what comes over to us non-Greek speakers is the sense of enjoyment and the striking instrumental arrangements for mini-bouzouki (tzouras), guitar and trombone (occasionally flute). They play with a fire that got the audience animated from the start. Monsieur Doumani are a terrific band with an infectious sense of fun.

Gisela João – pronounced Ju-wow – also delivers fado with a twist. Not for her the traditional black shawl. She’s wearing blue sneakers and a short white dress of her own design, which looks like what an angel might wear while playing tennis. For her fado is life. “We are not always smiling,” she says, “and we are not always sad.” For João, fado reflects all of life, including chance meetings with interstellar aliens in the garden – a highlight of last night’s show. Her band are brilliant musically, with Ricardo Parriera on Portuguese guitar, but they need to look like they’re having fun – like Monsieur Doumani do.

But what is special about João is the way she can send up the genre yet perform some of her emotional numbers, like ‘Madrugada sem Sono’ and ‘Meu Amigo Está Longe’, so they go straight to he heart. Justifiably she got a standing ovation. Gisela is a star. Ju-WOW!


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Album Review | Top of the World | Monsieur Doumani – Sikoses

Posted on May 18th, 2015 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Monsieur Doumani will be performing at Songlines Encounters Festival on June 4.

Monsieur-Doumani---SikosesThat difficult second album proves a doddle for Doumani

The Nicosia-based trio Monsieur Doumani have returned with a truly sterling effort on their second album. It features reworkings of traditional Cypriot folk songs and new compositions; an ambitious and altogether rewarding project. Clocking in at just under an hour, this album covers a vast amount of ground. From the wistful opener ‘Gongs’ to the serene closer ‘Good Tidings’, Sikoses never once loses your interest and is consistently strong, both lyrically and sonically. The title-track is based on a traditional melody, and its music complements the sentiments of the lyrical content perfectly: lilting brass and mystical harmonies conjure up the sense of loss following the end of a carnival.

The couplet ‘sycophants and zombies would scheme all day/ and drink hot blood from sundown to dawn’ is not the kind you hear every day, and the astute social criticism throughout – notably on ‘That’s What the Kitten Wants’ – helps make this an outstanding work. The centrepiece, an eight-minute opus named ‘Black-Eyed Girl’, showcases the musical talents of the trio, with magnificent slide work by Antonis Antoniou on the tzouras (lute), a beauteous flute refrain from Demetris Yiasemides, and haunting vocals from Angelos Ionas. This is a wonderfully conceived album, from a masterfully accomplished trio.

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Songlines Encounters Festival goes on tour

Posted on February 20th, 2015 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


For the first time in its five-year history, Songlines Encounters will tour venues around the UK

This years Songlines Encounters Festival at London’s Kings Place (June 4-6) features musicians from Portugal, Cyprus, Iran, the UK and Bangladesh. There are some UK premieres, some first-time collaborations and lots of supremely inspirational music. As ever with Songlines Encounters, the idea is to discover something new and memorable. Visit the Encounters website to find out more. The festival is co-curated by Songlines magazine and Ikon Arts Management.

Portugal’s rising fado star Gisela João, Iranian sisters Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat and progressive Cypriot trio Monsieur Doumani will tour as part of Songlines Encounters On Tour.

Gisela João

June 2 RNCM, Manchester
June 3 The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
June 4 Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Place, London
June 5 Turner Sims, Southampton


Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat

June 3 Salisbury International Arts Festival
June 5 Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Place, London
June 6 NCEM, York
June 7 Nottingham Lakeside Arts
June 8 Norwich Arts Centre


Monsieur Doumani

May 30 Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham
May 31 Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea
June 1  MWLDAN, Cardigan
June 3 The Met, Bury
June 4 Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Place, London
June 5 The Hothouse, Morecambe
June 6 Unity Works, Wakefield


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