OY@Electron Festival Geneva

Oy_press2_Andi_ZantWelcome to the OY experience – another intoxicatingly, left-of-centre, musical adventure dispelling all myths that life is unexotic in Switzerland.

This highly creative duo is made up of Joy Frempong: Swiss/Ghanaian vocalist, composer, story teller, sound sampler – and Lleluja-Ha: drummer, writer, producer. Their on stage appearance already communicates that you’re in for an outlandish and unique evening. Joy is like an elegant gazelle, all height and hair, dressed in colourful childlike patterns exuding both innocence and depth; Lleluja-Ha, possibly a lost member of Sun Ra’s arkestra, is shrouded within engulfing high priest regalia and remains the enigmatic driving force behind the entire show.

Here, on the 30th of March 2013, to promote their newly-released 2nd album – Kokokyinaka – on Creaked Records, their sound is a refreshing, improvised breeze of African-influenced electronica based on a road trip that absorbed sounds and experiences from Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and South Africa. Tales, proverbs and folklore were gathered along the way to be retold in an experimental, kaleidoscopic style, at times dark and mercurial, other times as joyful as walking through an African market place.

Graced with ambidextrous talents, Joy is busy at the controls of her many synths and sound machines, often sampling her voice and playing it back as haunting accompaniment or backing vocals. An impressive wall of sound is often created between herself and partner as in ‘Chicken Beer’, where dark voice effects and heavy synth rhythms clash with swirling drum beats as menacing as a locust storm. Contrast this with a playful singing voice that combines rare soothing sweetness and reassuring confidence, (I imagined Joy singing me the last rites and how delightful it would sound). Songs about bizarre name choices ‘My name is happy’ and the sexual politics of hair ‘Halleluja Hair’ are pure poetry in motion full of observational delight and personal fire. Her seductive speaking voice entertains us with tales of how you should “never run to a funeral if you’re late” or how Ghanaians believe that “every mistake is a new style”.

If she fancied reading out the local Chinese take-away menu I think most of the audience would have happily listened. There was a lot of love in the room for this band. OY exude compassionate observation of humanity and wrap it up in multi-textured, exhuberant electronic soundscapes. The slightly drunken man standing next to me kept muttering “I’m in love with the singer, she makes me feel love, she makes me feel things I’ve never felt before”. He wasn’t wrong.

Joy Frempong – vocals, sampler, synths, sound machines. Leluja-Ha – drums, production
Oy, Kokokyinaka (Creaked Record)

La scène suisse électro se porte bien!

Electron - PosterEn dix ans, le festival Electron s’est imposé comme une référence en matière de musique électronique. Avec ses expos, ses conférences, ses projections, ses spectacles de danse, il s’impose pendant trois jours et dans dix lieux genevois comme le QG des musiques électroniques actuelles. Toutes les tendances sont représentées, des pionniers aux derniers arrivés. Et les Suisses ne sont pas en reste dans ce grand panorama. Comme le manifeste d’emblée le spectacle d’ouverture : une création entre le chorégraphe Guilherme Botelho (de la compagnie Alias) et Murcof, artiste mexicain qui s’était déjà compromis avec notre trompettiste national Erik Truffaz il y a quelques années.

Jeudi, il ne faudra pas rater la prestation de Mimetic, projet solo du batteur et compositeur prolifique Jérôme Soudan (également l’un des deux programmateurs de la manifestation) qui a entre autres officié au sein de Von Magnet. De formation classique, rompu à l’exercice de la bande son, Jerôme Soudan est passé maître dans l’art de créer une musique électro aux résonances et aux pulsations essentielles.

Les Chevaliers de la Table ronde version house et électro ne sont autre que les Bernois de Round Table Knights auteur des singles « Deadfish » et « Cut To the Top » (en collaboration avec le Reverend Beat-Man). Leur premier album les a déjà consacrés comme un groupe avec lequel il fallait désormais compter sur la scène internationale.

Quant à Oy, elle viendra présenter sur la scène genevoise son second opus nourri de ses séjours en Afrique. Nous y reviendrons.

Evidemment, une bonne partie de la scène électro-techno-indu genevoise est dignement représentée. Parmi celle-ci Dachshund. Après s’être illustré en faisant de la drum’n’bass, ce DJ et producteur, amoureux du bon vieux dub jamaïcain, s’est reconverti à la techno.

Un des ses compagnons de fortune, le Dj et producteur Quenum, co-fondateur avec Luciano du label Cadenza Records, présente en avant-première à Electron son premier album sur la scène du Zoo.

Pour clore le festival, place à l’inénarrable et provocateur artiste de rap vaudois, Rocco Roccobelly qui aime à se présenter comme « le plus grand artiste de rap doté du plus petit appareil génital. »

En un mot comme en cent: dirigez vos pas dès ce soir du côté de Genève; vous ne serez pas décus!

Festival Electron, Genève, divers lieux, du 28 au 31 mars.

Kadebostany/Geneva and back again

It begins like a fairy tale: a newly-formed country, east of Switzerland and west of Turkey, led by a young music-loving president especially keen on electronic music.

President Kadebostan

President Kadebostan

The country’s called Kadebostany and its president Kadebostan. During a diplomatic tour of Belorussia, Kadebostan stumbles across and makes friends with an accoustic orchestra in Minsk, and since his young nation doesn’t yet have a national ensemble of its own, he takes them on.

Better still, he decides that this troupe must be liked by all his people, that includes every generation. With the help of his computers and samplers, he sets to work and begins to compose music around the recorded parts of the brass section and other instruments in the orchestra. Other musicians stop by the studio to record their solos. “Each time, I tried to push them into their corner for them to find their extreme animal instinct. I try to capture these crazy moments that only happen once”. Always open-minded, the President also recruits Corina for a track, a Romanian beggar that he met on in the streets of Geneva whose reality is 10,000 leagues distant from his own.

The Band I (photography by Tom De Peyret) low resFor practical reasons, the fanfare settle in Geneva, the town of their label: Mental Groove. In the record shops today, «Songs From Kadebostany» is a musical UFO that continues to increase the group’s popularity. Kadebostan, with his haughty look and dictatorial moustache explains: “I’ve always been an outsider in electronic music”. Before his concert at Le Romandie in Lausanne he tells me: “I like to describe myself as musically illiterate. I can’t read music at all. I’ve got some vague notions of harmony, but I stopped short when I realised that I was about to acquire the skills that would kill off the magic of the moment”.
Refusing all musical labels (techno, folklore, etc..), the National Fanfare of Kadebostany plays on the curiosity and mystery which surround its name and country. After having met with varied audiences from Holland, Germany and Mexico, the band continues along its virtual path. Their new opus has already gone into the best top ten albums on itunes Japan. Their video have reached more than 700’000 views on Youtube.  It gives you a good idea of the energy that this strange national band gives off. You can make them win the best Swiss Video clip  in a competition organized by M4Music and Mx3. The National Fanfare Kadebostany is playing worlwide, including Athens recently. It will also close the Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana on the 16th of March and will play at the Geneva Electron Festival  on the 31st. Be there!

This article was first published on swissvibes.org in french in May 2011. Translation: Beatrice Venturini

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