CMAT, Lina_ and YĪN YĪN are but a few of the big names that showed up for ESNS 2024
The picturesque Netherlands town of Groningen was lit up by the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) festival last week. With the aim of platforming up-and-coming musicians alongside a few established artists, the festival set up no less than 14 venues, each with multiple acts, across the city for three fun-filled nights (Jan 17-19).
The Music Moves Europe Awards took place on Thursday. The wide range of international winners included yunè pinku from Ireland, Bulgarian Cartrader from Bulgaria and freekind from Slovenia. Zaho de Sagazan (France) took home both the Public Choice Award and the Grand Jury Award. After receiving a hug from Jools Holland (ten-year host of the awards’ previous iteration, EBBA), and wiping away a few happy tears, she closed the night in style. Her performance ranged from energetic all-out numbers to a more heartfelt ‘La Symphonie des Éclairs’, a reflection on growing up very sensitive. She ended by leaping into the audience, showing them how to move for her upbeat ‘Dansez’.
MME nominee Ana Lua Caiano filled the Mutua Fides venue with her innovative mixture of Portuguese Indigenous music and modern-day production. Using loops, she created full soundscapes made up of Portuguese percussion (from palmas to drums), keys, synth and harmonies with herself. Also from Portugal was Lina_, a last-minute, very exciting addition to the festival’s lineup. She appeared with sparse accompaniment, singing tracks from her new album, Fado Camões, in the wonderfully intimate Der AA-Theater.
Ana Lua Caiano sets Mutua Fides ablaze © Jantina Talsma
And closer to the festival’s home, YĪN YĪN, a Netherlands-based group, did their country proud on Friday evening. Playing a selection of tracks from their new album Mount Matsu (as well as some delightful B-sides that didn’t make the cut), they showed off their far-reaching sound, with pan-Asian influences coming through forcefully. Audience members had thrown their coats on the floor by the second track, all the better to dance with abandon. CMAT, English Teacher and the vibrant, humorous Welsh indie group Melin Melyn (who will be performing at FOCUS Wales later this year) were just some of the other acts to cause a stir across a jam-packed few days.
All in all, Groningen, with an obliging light snowfall each day, provided the picturesque setting for a guns-blazing blowout selection of musical treats.