A July 19 at FINA : Senaya, Sophie Lukacs, Team Salsa Sextet, Yemi Alade…

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.

Senaya’s Contagious Energy

Crédit photo : Peter Graham

Before Senaya took to the stage, the evening’s presenter compared the Guadeloupean singer’s voice to that of Billie Holiday or Nina Simone. Nothing less. The bar was set high, and Senaya more than lived up to expectations. Throughout her performance, the audience was treated to a selection of music that showed the full extent of Senaya’s musical mastery. Jazz, blues and soul rubbed shoulders with typical Guadeloupean rhythms such as zouk and gwoka.

Throughout her performance, Senaya danced to the rhythm of the music, even as she picked up her beautifully decorated guitar. The musicians accompanying her were also part of the party. They too were able to demonstrate their virtuosity by taking solos at various points in the evening. Senaya’s energy was contagious and quickly spread through the crowd. The singer frequently addressed the audience, saying she was touched to see people having so much fun. Unfortunately, time passed too quickly, and it was already time to make way for other artists. Senaya seemed to want to keep on singing all evening, and the audience would certainly have been delighted to follow her on this journey through styles and continents.

Elena Mandolini

Sophie Lukacs : Beauty and Sweetness at Balattou

Crédit photo : Jeszika Paulusz

The first half of Sophie Lukacs’ concert may have been plagued by problems with the microphone and wires not working last night at Balattou, but the beauty of her music was not affected for a moment. We saw the young musician demonstrate resilience and patience while the sound technician tried his best to sort out the persistent problems. Add to this the fact that the young musician was not playing on her usual kora, which had been badly damaged during transport by plane… In short, the korafola (kora player) felt a little disappointed by this false start, but the pleasure returned as the concert progressed, especially in the second half. Lukacs’ music, most of which is taken from her album Bamako, is full of delicate tones, even in the more energetic passages. A gentle melancholy emanates from it, soaking music lovers in a bath of often contemplative impressions. It’s an evening that goes against the grain of what we usually hear at Balattou, and it’s one that does us a world of good! Sophie was accompanied by some superbly talented musicians: Noel Mpiaza on calabash, Laszlo Koos on cello and Elijah Mansevani on guitar. Which brings me to a kind suggestion: with such improvisational performers at your side, you absolutely must give them more space and time to take flight!

Frédéric Cardin

Team Salsa Sextet Goes Back to the Origins of Salsa

Team Salsa Sextet takes the crowd at the foot of the TD – Radio-Canada stage on a journey to the very source of salsa. This musical style, originally from New York, owes its rise to immigrants, mainly Cuban and Puerto Rican. The musicians were clearly eager to play, encouraged by the cries of the crowd asking for more music. You come for the salsa, you stay for the musicians. The band’s lively rhythms kept even the most distant fans dancing.

Indeed, you can’t get enough of the singer’s powerful voice, the tasty harmonies of the other members of the sextet, and you stay hooked, fascinated, hypnotized, by the keyboard solos. The singer has a formidable stage presence, often addressing the crowd in Spanish to ask if everyone’s having a good time. The party was in full swing!

Elena Mandolini

Yemi Alade Delights Fans and Newcomers Alike

Crédit photo : Luna Choquette Loranger

On this beautiful July evening, the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique played host to one of Africa’s brightest stars, Yemi Alade. The headlining venue, the TD – Radio-Canada Stage, was buzzing with anticipation as a veritable legion of fans gathered from all walks of life to witness the Nigerian singer and songwriter’s performance under the open sky.

Adorned in a stunning silver full-bodied leotard, Yemi’s presence was suitably magnetic, and her grace and command of the stage as a performer were evident throughout the night. She effortlessly engaged the audience between and even during her songs, establishing a connection that transcended any language barriers. Alongside her two backup dancers and a very capable backing band, Alade performed a set that would please fans and newcomers alike, with hits like “Oh My Gosh” and “Come and See My Moda” getting the crowd to sing along in no time. 

A particularly nice moment happened during one of her slower numbers, when the crowd fell silent watching Alade display her vocal acrobatics in acapella, before a sea of swaying cellphones shining like candles in the night. The two dancers had their time in the spotlight with some truly electric dance routines throughout the set. It was near the end of her set that Alade performed one of her biggest hits, “Johnny” and needless to say she left the stage to thunderous applause and for me, this evening cemented her status as a global superstar.

Varun Swarup

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