Review: Mosaïques Festival – Day 2 with Yasmin Kadi, Sofiane Saidi & Tim Whelan, ACID ARAB @ Rich Mix (London, 15th October 2016)


The second day of Mosaïques Festival, a ‘Festival of World Culture’ based at Rich Mix since 2014 and organised by Arts Canteen and Bureau Export, kicked off on a rainy Saturday night with the catchy Afro-pop rhythms of Yasmin Kadi. Kadi, who fled to the UK at 11 years old to escape the civil war in her native Sierra Leone, is now a world music sensation in the UK and beyond. Backed only by a vocalist and a musician in charge of providing the beats and playing the pianolas, she performed those songs that made her 2014 debut EP Earthquake rank #1 on iTunes Ireland, and that unsurprisingly succeeded in warming up the audience.

The stage was then taken by Sofiane Saidi and Tim Whelan, ‘El Mordjane duo’, who played their own version of raï music. Saidi comes indeed from Algeria, where this form of folk music developed in the early 20th century, and grew up listening to both local traditional melodies as well as western music; Whelan is one of the people behind Transglobal Underground, a London-based music collective who specialise in world fusion and ethno-techno. The outcome was a traditional singing style on top of an electronic musical base produced with an electric guitar, a synth, a drum machine and a laptop — a fusion you might not hear in a club but that led off the dance for the clubbier sounds of headliners ACID ARAB.

The french duo transformed Rich Mix into a French underground club. Their set was worthy of the best electronic night line-ups (not a surprise, both men have been resident DJs of the Parisian club, Chez Moune, for years) — and for this reason, it actually felt a little bit disconnected from their predecessors’ performances.

Combining techno and acid-house with all kinds of North-African and Middle-Eastern music, and transitioning from tune to tune in original and unexpected ways, Acid Arab enchanted the audience and make nod even the most resistant to moving to the music. They were without any doubt the highlight of the night.

The line-up might have felt a little disjoined, but the music proved in the end to be of quality.

photo©: Jose Ramon Caamaño Photography

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