Castles, artists, food, seaside and sunshine - music paradise for all of us festival goers!
Portugal’s World Music Festival Sines (FMM Sines) has a full package of artistic excellence, perfect setting, considerate organisers and financially accessible entry tickets.
Easily, one of the best world music festivals in Europe.
This festival of goodness kicked off at the small fishing village of Porto Covo, and, throughout the week (yes, a full week), we saw spectacularly daring and socially challenging music performances. Israel, Iran, Turkey, Madagascar, USA, Colombia, Mozambique, Canada, Mali, China, South Korea, Holland, Mexico, Angola, Ethiopia, Niger, Trinidad, Rajasthan, Portugal, France, Cape Verde, Armenia, Brittany, Serbia, Benin, Tanzania and who could forget, Lebanon.
And as you question why I am listing these countries, it is simply to give credit to the FMM organisers who ensure that none of these gigs clash, how wonderful. An abundance of quality performances rolling timely and joyfully, giving us the chance to breathe music, eat with music, feel music, and above all be taken through “a wonderful voyage around the sounds of the world”.
FMM Sines’ musical journey started with a beat box extravaganza, amongst its many musical delights.
Krismenn, a multifaceted artist and promoter of traditional music from Brittany mixes kan ha diskan with hip hop, electronic and experimental music. Accompanied by Alem, runner-up in the world human beat box championships in 2012, the strong vocal percussions and its rotating sounds resonated loud and clear amongst an excited public.
The human body as the number one musical instrument bringing us bass notes and a complexity of electronic and turntable effects.
It became clear that this year (as in all others) Carlos Seixas, FMM’s artistic director, went through a careful selection of musicians. A balanced event with fresh new rhythmical blood with the likes of Seuma Uamusse, a captivating singer who approaches jazz, gospel and soul with her Mozambican roots as an essential component.
Through to masters of musical technical enlightenment from Colombia, Cimarron. Cimarron mix African and Indian rhythms with Spanish influences, with an evolving rapid playing style presented by a formation of strings and percussion. We were left in bewitching state of mind, what a gig.
And still, FMM Sines gave us more!
Continuous smiles in a unique energetic performance from Debademba bringing together Burkina Faso’s Abdoulaye Traore and Mohamed Diaby from Mali. Traditional Mandinga blues providing the basis for their music alongside afrobeat, highlife and mbalax. The public was ignited!!
Defiance and perfect fusion…Jambinai, South Korean experimental rock band featuring electric guitars, drums and traditional Korean music instruments. Their debut album, ‘Difference’.
Rawness, pure rawness and virtuosity – Mohammad Reza Mortazavi. Taking the stage alone, he hypnotised and created a nest of danceable spirits throughout the crowd. A master of traditional Persian hand drums Tonbak and Daf, Mohammad was accompanied by his fingers highlighting 6/8 rhythms and innovative techniques when playing the Iranian drums.
Highly technical lessons accompanied by a lesson that only a true master can give, humility.
And as the journey continues FMM Sines recognises the importance of a story teller. Classically trained Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and his 7 piece band brought us his new album ‘Illusions’.
My personal experience? Laughter when presented with the grandiosity of Ibrahim’s theme ‘Illusions’ (I could not believe what I was listening nor what I was feeling...) and tears as he blessed us with ‘Beirute’ from his previous album. This experience continued with an incessant cry when faced with the theme ‘True Story’. A rollercoaster of emotions brought by a true story teller.
This opportune musical education continued with the beautiful Fatoumata Diawara, who never fails to inspire. This time accompanied by Roberto Fonseca, we were presented with an encounter of African routes filled with warm Cuban rhythms and smooth Malian melodies.
Mulatu Astatke, father of Ethio Jazz delivered us wisdom through his compositions combining jazz, Latin and traditional Ethiopian music. A warm and elegant performance, what an honour.
And as excitement takes place whilst I revive all of the FMM wonderful moments, I have to mention the empowering force that is Angelique Kidjo. Englobing all of the above, on the last day of FMM Kidjo brought also connection, allowing the public to dance with her on stage and making us scream of gratitude whilst singing to Miriam Makeba.
The amazing organisation of FMM Sines successfully delivered culture, community spirit and educative workshops to a dedicated public.
Many of these, my fellow music lovers, many of these, delivered, for free, SPECIAL.
One love. Many sounds. Much dance.