What you should (not) see at Gentse Feesten 2019
With our own two Sonar tropical bass nights behind us and the balkan bass of Partyzani still to go, let’s look for some relaxations in between. Below is a list of bands you should see, and some more ample explications where needed. The band name is a link to music, the location links to the bands actual concert page on the Gentse Feesten website. The header of this article is a youtube link to a super handy playllist of all the bands below.
MON 22 JULY
Monday is Latin tradition day at Polé Polé, and in this exceptional case it might even get interesting. If you like milking out the Buena Vista cow and go wild on salchachachá rhythms: sure, go to headliner Afro Cuban All Stars, but the real heroes of tonight come from Iquitos, Peru: a bunch of old men actually created their very own kind of cumbia amazónica, and trust us on this one: it’s dangerously contagious. Los Wemblers deserve our first ‘must see’ mark ♛. So what were they thinking at Polé Polé? Yeah, let’s wake up at 7 and fall asleep at 9?
Another promising concert is Proyecto Secreto, already rather on the creative jazzyside of the skasound by itself, but we especially look forward to the contribution of Paola Marquez, Colombian singer and former front lady of what was about to be the nicest cumbia band in Belgium: Maguaré.
21:00 Afro-Cuban All Stars at Polé Polé
TUES 23 JULY
If you’re a ‘balkan’ lover, there’s a pretty high chance you’ll grab this one and unique chance for getting some gipsyflair with balls at the second Gentse Feesten passage of Dubioza Kolektiv on the so-called (what's in a name-shame) 'balkan night' at Polé Polé. Unfortunately and absolutely to our big deception, this band is nothing more than a shallow stack of clichés on one deadly predictable repetitive hophophop beat without any variation – we’ve heard this same boring shit for about two decades now. It still works though, if you shut down your brain. If at least they’d bring along some really good musicians we'd almost be ready to forgive these guys, but alas, they’re not. So, not much to care about on Tuesday? Well, instead go watch some charming Gentish projects if you’re a real wereldburger. The most promising concert of tonight is Compro Oro. Not only because they’re already talented (jazz) musicians, but in the first place because of their remarkable guest. Murat Ertel from Baba Zula is the first (but not the last) Turkish icon on this stage.
16:30 De Gentse Karavaan at Trefpuntfestival mainstage
WED 24 JULY
“My (lover) honey tongue, my (lover who has) gazelle eyes. My heart is seeking you, where are you?” The second Turkish icon on this stage is an even bigger one – although less known in Europe: Selda Bağcan. She receives our second ‘must see’ mark. Amadou & Mariam has let us massively down last years – they’ve become victims of their ‘Sabali’ success and only produce trivial music with all true African rhythms and valuable heritage drained out on the slaughter table of white festival approval and golden bucks. But hey, you can still go and enjoy some of their classics, since there’s still one advantage left here: with these kind of tour budgets, they can afford good musicians. Speaking of good musicians: we can also find them on our own territory. If you want to see Amadou & Mariam, make sure to come in time for Kosmo Sound, a wayward blend of jazzy dub and cosmic sax prodigy.
THURS 25 JULY
Two years ago we hesitated for one month about bringing Mokoomba from Zimbabwe to Gent. In the end we didn’t – we considered it a bit too early for this young band, and their music was just not innovative and thrilling enough. Their latest sound has matured in the meantime, so we’re glad to see tonight if we missed a golden scoop there in 2017. Are they really the self-proclaimed ‘future Afro sound’?
FR 26 JULY
Not much to experience for a Friday night. So just take your day off and go for a walk in Bourgoyen. Or give Orchestre National de Barbès a try, although we’re not so sure the already rich gnaoua rhythms really had to be extended with this potpourri of rock, reggae, jazz, funk and, well, practically anything. Who knows it does work live?
SAT 27 JULY
We will be very honest with you: Trefpunt goes indierock tonight so that’s out, but Polé Polé is giving you a hard choice between our own Partyzani balkan bass night and a possibly interesting Brussels based chicha project called Nikanor and the adventurous sounds of Orkesta Mendoza. Our suggestion: go watch Nikanor in a bar sometime ‘cause they’ll probably drown a bit on the large Polé stage, if you want to have a party, go Partyzani, if you want to see a concert between Vagabundos and our dj-set party, take a trip to Polé Polé and come back for some solid grooving afterwards because! We host the king of the Spanish Balkan scene: mister Gypsy Box himself deserves our third ‘must see’ mark.
23:00 b2b dj-set party w/ Gypsy Box + mnsr zér0 at Partyzani balkan bass night
SUN 28 JULY
The final ‘must-see’ mark goes to Frente Cumbiero. This is actually one of the most interesting projects from South-America of the last decade. They’re part of (or even induced) the current wave of innovative and contemporary tropical music keeping this engine of constant music evolution rolling and thumping. One of the boiling scenes of these evolutions is Bogotá, Colombia, as it’s home to Sidestepper, Ondatrópica, Choc Quib Town, Bomba Estéreo, (our own staged) Ghetto Kumbé, etc. Frente Cumbiero might be the most ‘experimental’ of this exquisite list and thus not for everyone’s ears, but after a Sunday afternoon of only bird tchirping we’re sure you’ll be able to cope with some complex rhythms based on one of the greatest Colombian traditional rhythms: cumbia! Something else to see? Well, Amparanoia last year was an unforgivable dull concert but we’re ready to give her a second chance if she’s bringing some more inspiring musicians with her, and Magnifico could end up as a horrible plastic balkanpop honeydoll, a big laugh out, or a splendid Balkan party. We hope for the latter, because we really want the Balkan honours to be safe after the Dubioza puppets on Tuesday. Finally we can highly recommend Kolonel Djafaar with fundamental arguments, since they opened our Sonar XL in May 2018. A good way to end Gentse Feesten 2019.