18 Jun / 21:30
According to Malian musician Ballaké Sissoko, the title of his latest album Djourou is the string that binds him to others. We could hardly find an idea more in tune with Imaterial’s spirit for the start of its first edition. Son of Djeli Mady Sissoko, Ballaké inherited from his father the mastery of the kora (the so-called “African harp”) and forged its characteristic delicate lyricism through many hours devoted to listening to older players, picking up on the advice that, before speaking, one should learn how to listen. It was only later on that he emancipated himself and began a path of permanent discovery that would lead him to recording with Toumani Diabaté of New Ancient Strings (1999), one of the most notable albums ever dedicated to the instrument, or to the sublime duet he shares with cellist Vincent Ségal. It is all in there in Djourou: tradition carried from father to son and the revelation of new encounters.
19 Jun / 21:00
As with many of the artists present in Imaterial, Aynur’s music emerges as a place of confluence between traditional ancient music and a contemporary drive. This combination makes of Aynur the most popular Kurdish singer of our time, skilled at singing fluttering melodies spread over lively instruments, with such an emotional depth cellist Yo-Yo Ma said that “to hear Aynur’s voice is to hear the transformation of all the layers of human joy and suffering into one sound”. Hedûr, her latest album, brings Kurdish music closer to jazz and reflects with a beauty as breathtaking as touching the trials and injustices that Kurds have been targeted with in Turkey, Aynur’s country of birth. An admirable example of music that carries with it one people’s complex identity and suffering.
Cuncordu & Tenore Orosei + Grupo de Cantares de Évora + Ernst Reijseger
Cuncordu & Tenore Orosei + Grupo de Cantares de Évora + Ernst Reijseger
19 Jun / 22:15
Whoever welcomes someone into their home, does so because they are available for dialogue. And so it will be when the choral group Cantares de Évora, a mixed choir founded in 1979, welcome the Sardinians Cuncordu and Tenore Orosei in their hometown. Under the direction of cellist Ernst Reijseger (a musician with a broad musical vocabulary, who navigates with equal ease through classical repertoire, jazz and traditional music), together they will create a revealing concert of the complicity developed over their shared artistic residency. The local cante alentejano will be joined by these two vocal traditions of Sardinia – the singing “a tenore” and “a cuncordu” –, united by common songs on work, on the relationship with nature and on the vital connection to the land. Even if in different languages, we will be lead into a mutual call and response, in a symbolic moment of the musical conversations that Imaterial aims to stimulate.
20 Jun / 21:00
In 2020, WOMEX presented Mónika Lakatos with her Artist Award, honoring the gypsy singer with one of the most prestigious awards granted in the world music universe. This acknowledgment highlights the journey taken by the singer, both as a member of the band Romengo and as a solo artist, giving new life to the musical heritage of the small Romani Olah community, but it also praises an often ignored and cast aside culture. Having performed all over the world, on the greatest festivals but also with the Berlin Philharmonic or the Frankfurt Opera, Mónica Lakatos elevates a song of simple expression to a prodigious celebration of life. Her steady commitment to making Olah culture known is based not only on the pure pleasure of sharing its origins, but also on the firm belief that only ignorance of other cultures can explain fear and mistrust.
Image: ©Farkas András
20 Jun / 22:15
“Those who have heard me singing / Say that when my singing comes / The entire earth trembles”. These opening verses from “Fado com Dono”, written by Maria do Rosário Pedreira for Aldina Duarte, encapsulate the overwhelming experience felt by those who listen to the fado singer. Having chosen to fully commit to traditional fado, Aldina Duarte has built a unique work, enhanced by each album, and linked to the most vital and raw expression of the genre. After claiming her place in fado through an immaculate repertoire written for her voice, Aldina wanted to celebrate her 25 years of fado, in 2019, honoring her heroes (Tony de Matos, Beatriz da Conceição, Lucília do Carmo, Maria da Fé or Carlos do Carmo). It is this record, along with some pivotal songs from her career, that she will share with us – surely making us tremble.
Image: ©Isabel Pinto
21 Jun / 18:30
Born in Cairo, Mustafa Saïd immersed himself very early on in classical Arabic modal music, growing into becoming one of the most amazing performers of a new generation, and also one of its most dedicated researchers and teachers. His selfless passion for Arabic music, with a focus on its classical expression but without giving up on a contemporary reinterpretation, has expressed itself under numerous ways over the years – by submitting academic papers and presenting conferences on the subject, by collecting more than 500 songs of early Arabic music, by recording several albums that document his stunning virtuosity in the oud. Director of the Arab Music Archive and Research Foundation in Lebanon, and founder of the Asil Ensemble for Contemporary Classical Arab Music, Mustafa Saïd is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable authorities on this music and one of the great propellers of the ongoing recovery of classical Arabic modal music.
21 Jun / 21:00
Arising from a stunning scenery in Mongolia, where open-air music often shares its soundscape with animals, wind and other luxurious natural sounds, the Egschiglen have created, since 1991, a musical world of absolute harmony with this local context. Falling back on traditional Central Asian instruments and the specific singing of that region, Egschiglen’s repertoire recalls the vastness of the Mongolian steppe and the massiveness of the Gobi Desert. We are taken through these landscapes while listening to wide range of music collected from the regional songbook or updated by a contemporary vision, as we follow the course of rivers or go deep into mountains and forests. All thanks to a music so rich in visual cues that ensures us a remarkable journey.
Vincent Moon‘s Live Cinema
Vincent Moon‘s Live Cinema
21 Jun / 22:15
Vincent Moon became a well-known artist in the music world through his work with the popular website La Blogothèque. Over several years, Moon placed musicians such as Arcade Fire, Jack White or Iggy Pop in unexpected concert situations and those videos turned viral. On the last decade though, he has devoted himself to another surprising way of combining music and image, documenting ceremonials pretty much everywhere – from Georgia's polyphonic singing to shamanic rituals in the Amazon, from the Sufi circles of Chechnya to the funeral songs of Indonesia. His ambition, however, expanded from documentation to the will of interacting live with these recordings (audio and video). At Imaterial, Moon will resort to footage of several groups of cante alentejano, performing on stage with Portuguese musician Diana Combo to improvise a new trance object.
Image: ©Moana Gangemi
22 Jun / 21:00
In 2018, the English newspaper The Guardian chose Ilmamõtsan as one of the ten best albums of the year in the world music category. This appraisal drew attention to the unique and fascinating music of Estonian Mari Kalkun, creator of songs of a touching intimacy, which merge her voice and kannel (Estonian zither) with the sounds of nature. Listening to the singer’s lyrics, we find ourselves before a constant dialogue between humanity and nature, environmental issues and personal concerns. In an intense and seemingly simple musical output, Mari Kalkun entangles us in a melodic enchantment one does not want to leave. A music as familiar as it is mysterious, as discreet as it is sweeping, as barren as it is enveloping, as impregnated with reality as it bursts with utopias. A music made of little contradictions and paradoxes, but welcomed with open ears.
Image: ©Ruudu Rahumaru
22 Jun / 22:15
Chanting, percussion and clapping. That is all it takes for the six members of San Salvador to create a hypnotic, frantic and absolutely stunning set of songs. Thanks to the album La Grande Folie they have rightly conquered a place as one of the great breakthrough acts of 2021. Their reputation as an indomitable live band had already guaranteed them the applause of Songlines magazine after performing at WOMEX in 2018, seduced by the rawness of a polyphonic singing driven by a primary percussion, making of each song a captivating musical whirlwind. Taking as a starting point the lyrics from Occitania’s popular repertoire, San Salvador then feel free to be inspired by the rhythm of the Occitan language, and elevate the musicality of the words as the main foundation of their songs. A musical experience in the form of a collective trance.
Image: ©Kristof Guez
23 Jun / 21:30
Being the daughter of Alim Qasimov, one of the most amazing voices on the planet, chosen by Björk in 2011 as her “favorite living singer”, could have been numbing to Fargana Qasimova. But at the age of 16, Fargana did not shy away from this legacy and went on tour with her father, joining his band. When, in 2000, the Western world first discovered Ali Qasimov through the edition of Love’s Deep Ocean, both voices naturally emerged side by side, in a sponsorship that made it clear it would not take long for the young singer to claim her own stage. While fulfilling this unsurprising prophecy, Fargana Qasimova would also take on the fundamental role of bringing the Mugham tradition closer to younger generations, addressing the classical poetry of her country with a contemporary sensibility. The new not oblivious of the ancient, as it always should be.
Image: ©Jalil Didevar