Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shlomo Bar & Kutiman Orchestra at Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

I've written in the previous post about two concerts of the Festival that I loved for the sense of the intimacy that the concerts created, showing the different side of this big festival. But the big stage has its merits as well and this post is dedicated to the two bands I believe played the best, both in Tempel Synagogue and during the grande finale at Szeroka Street.

Shlomo Bar & Habrera Hativet come first, a concert that was part of "classical" side of the program, but that sounded nothing like the visit in a museum. Shlomo Bar is a charismatic vocalist with a voice strong as a bell. But also a true showman, a percussionist with a gift for stage gesture. The music by the band combines the musical traditions of sephardic Andalusian Jews' mysticism and middle-Easter flavours. The music was full of life, vivid, and managed to make the opposites meet. Majestic and fun. A meditation in the desert. A wedding party in oasis.

The kind of music that has the power to transcend the millenias, as proven by the thousands of people dancing to it this year at Szeroka Street.

Kutiman Orchestra was the last band on stage this year (before the festival's all-star orchestra closed the night) and the deserved this honor without any doubts. A ten man strong unit on stage with plenty of percussion, horns and the leader behind a set of synthesizers that would make any vintage electronica fan drool.
Even as the band hit the first notes, they captured the crowd immediately and filled the space (either Synagore and Szeroka Street) with non-stop grooves, horn sections' punch, funky basslines, psychodelic guitar (with occasional hard rock riff) and and spaced out synth. The Orchestra is an unstoppable dance machine ("What's going down? We're grooving this town"). I believe the Godfather of Soul himself mr. James Brown would say the are bad mothe*uckers.

Fantastic show, if you ever got a chance to see them, don't miss out. Otherwise hunt for the records.

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