This June the Jazz Folk Bike festival in Syke, Germany will focus on Africa as one of it’s main theme’s. This coming edition of the festival marks the second year that the festival has returned to presenting concerts live after moving to a full streaming program during the festival. The concerts will take place in three locations, The concert hall at the Kreissparkasse, the Art Center “Vorwerk” and a matinee concert in the Kreismuseum in Syke.
Stylistically, the festival’s program is not cast in stone however, Jazz, Blues and World Music have traditionally been the three pillars that the festival has built it’s reputation on and this year is no different. As mentioned earlier, this years festival will present 2 concerts in the “Syker Vorwerk” with a truly African focus.
The first of these two concerts will present a trio titled JMO, led by Jan Galega Brönnimann together with the Senegalese kora player Moussa Cissokho and the Israëli percussionist Omri Hason. The music of JMO looks back at the art of storytelling with the trio focusing on the tension between the traditional and modern music of Africa and Europe. The band combines the sparkling sound of the kora (African harp with 22 strings) together with dark soundscape of the bass clarinet and driven by oriental percussion. The compositions are a musical collaberation between all three musicians with their different backgrounds merging to create an intriguing melting pot that is difficult to pin down. JMO will open the festival with a concert on Saturday the 3rd of June at 4:00pm on the outdoor stage in graden of the Syker Vorwerk.
Following JMO at 6:30pm also on the outdoor stage at the Syker Vorwerk is a performance by Vieux Farka Touré, the son of guitar legend Ali Farka Touré. Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré has had an highly impressive musical journey culminating in the release of his 2022 album ‘Les Racines’. This album see’s him return to the deep roots of the Desert Blues music that his father introduced to the world and Vieux spent most of his career to date exploring, experimenting with, and expanding. The album was an instant hit around the globe, immediately getting millions of streams, enormous critical acclaim and even earning the praise of Sir Elton John who called it “one of the albums of the year – absolutely wonderful music.” With each new project Vieux broadens his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world’s most talented and innovative musicians.
As a side note to the festival on the 9th of May in the Syke Hansakino, the festival was able to arrange for the German premiere of a fascinating documentary by Ian Campbell, who accompanied Vieux Farka Touré from his home in Mali on a tour du monde that is a visual and sonic feast. Vieux, despite worldwide fame, remains attached to its windswept, sunburned home. The documentary that features many interviews is a story about community, family, love, peace, resilience and the transcendent power of music is told.
On Sunday the 4th of June in the concert hall above the towns Kreissparkasse bank, the festivals Jazz program will kick off with a concert by Cologne based trumpeter Maik Krahl. Krahl recently released his third album titled “In-Between Flow”, his third for Challenge Records following up on his 2018 debut “Double Moon” and his sophomore release “Fraction” that features guest saxophonist Seamus Blake. The continuing growth of Maik Krahl as a melodic improviser, bandleader, and composer is distinctly evident in this new release. For a young player Krahl has notched up an impressive set of touring credits the include concerts in Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Canada, Croatia, Lithuania, Serbia, Senegal and the USA, among others so this performance at the festival is bound to be one not to miss. You can catch this set at 3 p.m. in the concert hall of the Kreissparkasse Syke
Closing out the festival, later that evening, also in the Kreissparkasse, the Dimitri Monstein Ensemble will take the stage to present a live performance from Dimitri’s recent project titled “The Cello Sessions”. Classical and jazz are two musical genres that, when they meet, can form a highly emotional, sophisticated and impressive musical alliance. The two worlds whose individual structures are ostensibly opposed but whose characters, at a second glance can correspond in the most subtle way that can mutually stimulate one another. This requires the musical sensitivity of an artist who feels technically and emotionally connected to both worlds. This is exactly what the the Dimitri Monstein Ensemble has achieved with the Cello Sessions and it will be interesting to see this project translated to the live stage at the festival.
The matinee concert on Sunday the 4th of June at 11:15am in the Kreismuseum in Syke is the Chapeau Manouche, a band that has dedicated himself to Sinti Swing bringing a mix between tradition and modernity. Since 2010, the four Oldenburg musicians have been regularly performing at both large and small stages across the country, but above all capturing the hearts the attention of their listeners. The driving and rousing guitar rhythm and the virtuoso violin improvisations are unmistakable, as we know them in the style of the forefather of these musicians, Django Reinhardt. This music is very direct and doesn’t leave anyone sitting still!
Tickets for the festival are available on via the Festivals website. Also keep an eye out here on Jazz In Europe for a full review of the proceedings.
Last modified: June 6, 2023