Europavox: our top five picks
Top 5 lists are tricky. This one was compiled using an approximate measure of gut instinct, memorability, joy and inadvertent moving of the hips. Enjoy.
By Caroline Hammargren
Kuenta i Tambu
Kudos to Europavox’s programme organisers, who knew exactly what to serve for dessert – or does everything sound sweeter towards the end? The festival concluded with Kuenta i Tambu (or K i T, for short) from the Dutch Antilles, bringing the party, beats and shakes to the outdoor stage into the early hours. They pleased the crowd and the crowd seemed to please them quite well too. Delivering synths and traditional Afro-Curaçaoan tambú music, Kuenta i Tambú means "words and drums" in the Caribbean language Papiamento and wraps it up pretty well. Had there been walls, there’d be no wallflowers here.
I first got into Fauve during long slow autumn walks and consequently told people they might not be the best concert material. I was proven wrong. Fauve’s sometimes heart wrenching, sometimes charmingly pathetic, ironic lyrics and contemplative videos mesmerized the crowd at the festival’s biggest stage Forum for nearly two and a half hours. Fauve is often defined as an arts, video and music collective and using the “not equal to” sign ≠ as their emblem, often preferring to be anonymous. While conceptualisation and merchandise sales can often feel like a desperate way to make money, Fauve’s decorated entryway into the concert hall – it looked as if a low budget fun fair had come to town – felt genuine. Lining the way with booths selling special Fauve graphic art posters, posters for a voluntary contribution, free to use foosball tables and a photo booth. If any challenge awaits Fauve it’s perhaps to survive the wide-scale success that they’ve clearly already found in France.
So you think you can’t dance? Shivani Ahlowalia will put you in your place and shake you right back out. The voice and face of Alo Wala showed what music is meant to do to the body, encouraged everyone else to join in and never stopped smiling during an energy packed fusion of hip hop, dancehall and bass. Two men down from their full lineup, which includes a light show, she was accompanied on stage by drummer Alexander Valentino Clerici who treated the art of percussion with as much passion and energy. Alo Wala confirmed the outdoor Scène Factory stage as the place where the happiest dancing and partying happened – and when Kuenta i Tambu opened here the following night, everyone knew what to do.
This young Polish electropop duo from Zabrze released their debut last year and are a sensation in Poland already. No signs here of the fact that Justyna Święc, vocals and keyboard, and Kuba Karaś, production, started out playing indie acoustic songs. Their synth and electropop may please headbobbers and dancers alike. The stage performance is modest but it doesn’t matter much, Justyna Święc’s voice imposes over it. Extra marks for still singing many songs in Polish.
Soulful ballads may prove the depth in Selah Sue’s voice but it’s the tracks dusted with hip-hop and electro that brought real life into this show towards the end. Fresh out with her second full length album, Selah Sue radiates confidence and delivers consistently an eclectic genre-mixing resting on soul, which reaches the soul. Keep an eye on this girl.