A July 16 at FINA: Romain Malagnoux, Yordan Martinez

by Rédaction PAN M 360

The PAN M 360 team has a strong presence at the Festival international Nuits d’Afrique (FINA), with our contributors reporting daily on what they’ve seen and heard at the concerts presented in Montreal until July 23.

Romain Malagnoux’s Musical Travel Log

Photo credit: André Rival

Romain Malagnoux, the folk singer-songwriter from France who now calls Quebec his home, took to the stage at Club Balattou and gave a moving performance that took listeners on a journey across the Atlantic to West Africa. The intimate setting of the club proved to be the perfect backdrop for Malagnoux to showcase his global horizons and share his musical ability.

Malagnoux’s music defied easy categorization, seamlessly blending elements of folk, ‘world music’, and Quebecois music, in his emotive songs – sometimes melancholic, sometimes joyous. His affinity for West-African music was certainly clear and one that goes deep, after all, it has led him to Mali many times. Malagnoux’s raspy tenor voice shows inflections from the desert blues of the Tuaregs to the delicate folk quality of kora music. His fingerpicking technique and percussive style of guitar playing were particularly cool to witness live. 

While he shared some compositions from his album, Nos frontières imaginaires, which he recorded after a meeting with the djeli n’goni player Moustafa Kouyaté, he made it a point to present some newer material too, and the audience was treated to a warm and personal showcase of the artist. 

Varun Swarup

Yordan Martinez and Joyful Celebrations at Club Balattou

Photo credit: André Rival

Yordan Martinez brought the tantalizing sounds of Havana streets to the salon of Club Balattou, igniting a fiery and passionate night of music and dance. The concert was a pulsating celebration of salsa and cumbia, with Martinez’s band delivering a tight and energetic performance with the addition of Colombian vocalist Stephanie Osorio. It was the two percussionists on stage who drove the evening forward with their syncopated and hypnotic claves, and Martinez’ earthy baritone complementing Osorio’s mellifluous voice with rich and lively counterpoints.

As the band played, the dance floor started filled with enthusiastic patrons eager to move their bodies to the intoxicating beats. Granted it was not the busiest Sunday evening, but the band still gave it their all, enticing most of the audience there to join in on the festivities. The band interacted with the audience, encouraging clapping and sing-alongs. Martinez’s infectious energy was contagious, and it spread throughout the venue, creating an atmosphere of celebration. A great night.

Varun Swarup

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