Review: BalkanBeats London @ The New Empowering Church (London, 21st June 2014)
More than sure hits, BalkanBeats nights are smash hits. They lure dozen of Balkan rhythms enthusiasts and they never do no wrong. You already know, when you buy your ticket, that you are going to dance all night long, until the daybreak. And if you add to this with such a unique location like the New Empowering Church in Hackney and two hot-blooded bands like the Turbans and intO the mOOn, you win hands down.
The recurring bimonthly date with Eastern Europe melodies was, this time, a one-off event which fell in conjunction with the Summer solstice. So what better occasion than this, to join together the two occurrences creating a musical delight of summery tunes and wild people? The Summer Solstice Bonanza did justice to its name with tip-top notch performers, kooky DJs and a passionate audience.
Despite some troubles with the sound quality, intO the mOOn, a young and restless Franco-American quartet based in London, set alight the shortest night of the year with a blast. Their style, even though being still green and muddled by too many influences, had an enviable drive able to captivate everyone. Also, their trademark, the violin, which was played by Mirabelle Gilis as a bass, and a mandolin too, added a touch of uniqueness, a dash of tasteful singularity to their performance. intO the mOOn, with their mix of Balkan up tempos, Turkish melodies, Oriental atmospheres and also prog waves and rock directness were an appropriate appetiser to the abundant main course. The Summer Solstice Bonanza’s main dish was indeed also a blend of Asian and Eastern European ingredients: a brew dated back to 2009 and which was firstly knead together in Nepal.
The Turbans are today a shining expression of music multiculturalism and one of the best examples of excellent musicians with a polarising stage presence. The cohesiveness of their sound, their ability to play by heart, their dexterity were put almost on the back burner in front of their exuberance. Their show was an outstanding representation of how Balkan, klezmer, Turkish, middle eastern, and Celtic traditions can share the same stage and excite the same audience. Their show was the crowning moment of the nth triumphal BalkanBeats night in London.
If you have attended any of the previous Africa Express shows, you know they never disappoint your thirst for music. For hours and hours, they stun you with a deluge of quality acts and unexpected collaborations, not only featuring the exceptional artistry of the musicians involved but also their welcoming…