First of all: the few (but invaluable) fellow readers of my blog might have been wondering if this blog has died a premature death. No, not at all, fortunately I can assure you, my friends, that it is not dead. This post can be taken as a factual proof, right?
On a more serious note, I can explain the long absence from posting (two months): in July I had to take care of the last (but most complicated and most stressing) tasks related to my job as a music teacher in public school, like preparing exams, watching some more exams and judging some more exams, again. And add to this the usual meetings. On the other hand, me and my wife had to take care of moving out of our (temporary – that is, for one school year) home. At the beginning of this year, we promised each other we would NOT take more stuff than we needed into this home, but I guess we failed a little. About three cars went full with stuff. In the meantime, the month was coming to an end and finally, we had some (very) deserved holidays, of which we spent two days at Sines.
Sines is a rather smallish town at the portuguese west coast, something like mid-way between Algarve and Lisbon. Normally it is known for its very important international harbour and its petrol raffineries. On another hand it also has a nice beach and pitoresque streets and houses, as well as an old castle to offer. But more important than all this (at least for me):
It is the setting of FMM (“Festival de Músicas de Mundo“: something like World Music Festival).
I’ve already been there two years ago and became instant fan. Absolutely great venue, very nice atmosphere, nice people, no stress or hectic masses of audiences (although it does get really crowded) and fantastic choice of bands and musicians from all around the globe. So, I had to come back this year, and will try to go almost every year, too.
This edition, I managed to attend the following concerts:
Couple Coffee (http://www.myspace.com/couplecoffee)
Portuguese traditional music meets the classics from Brazil with the very musical and alternative interpretation of two brazilians who came to Portugal: Luanda Cozetti (vocals) and Norton Daiello (bass) with the help of Ruca Rebordão (percussion) and José Peixoto (guitar) recreate their own versions of all-time classics and also some originals of their own, where they play from soul to jazz-funk.
Dubioza Kolektiv (http://dubioza.org/)
Bosnian band emerging from the ashes of civil war and becoming one of the most popular projects in eastern europe, mixing folclore with reggae, hiphop and plain, hard and noisy rock. Original and interventional lyrics paired with strong rhythms.
This promising project from Argentina might be one of the best examples for the modern state of Tango, aware of the traditions but inspired by the crowded and uncensored life on the streets of Buenos Aires, taking their tools from Jazz, Rock and even contemporary instrumental composition.
Fatoumata Diawara (http://www.myspace.com/fatoumatadiawara)
A very talented lady from Mali who grew up with the ancestral blues music from the Wassolou region and although having started as an actress, never stopped believing in herself and made her dream come true: become an internationally known singer.
Staff Benda Bilili (http://www.staffbendabilili.com/)
All members of this ensemble from Republic of Congo have some kind of physical handicap, in fact most of them appear on stage in wheel chairs, making this project a great demonstration of courage and winning the most difficult adversities in life. Their music, pairing traditional rhythms with Funk and Rumba, won’t leave anybody indifferent.
Diabo a Sete (http://www.diaboasete.com/)
A portuguese Folk-Rock project with unusual compositions and also a unusual line-up: from a Hurdy-Gurdy (strange instrument, but sounds great… look here if you don’t know what it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy_gurdy) to traditional flutes, bagpipes, concertinas, mandolin and “cavaquinho“.
Dhafer Youssef (http://www.dhaferyoussef.com/)
Definitely the best concert of all, and one of the greatest I’ve ever been at. Absolutely soberb performance, great musicianship and perfect sound. Stunning. I’ve already dedicated one chapter of my series “Alternative Music Lounge” to Dhafer, check it out here for more details. That’s also why I include the video-report of the actual concert he gave at FMM Sines 2012, rather than one of his music videos, those you can find on the article or directly on youtube.
Mari Boine (http://www.mariboine.no/)
In 2010 (at FMM as well) I heard for the first time one of the very special “throat-singers” of the Norwegian Swami people (Wimme), now it was time to hear Mari Boine, also representing these unique Shaman music traditions.
And that’s it. I wish I could have stayed longer… See you next year, FMM Sines!