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.
Guynard the Entertainer
Brilliantly bringing a landscape of liberating Congolese rumba that stretches beyond the horizon, Guynard and his band easily charmed the audience in front of the Loto-Québec stage yesterday.
When there are eight people on stage, including one whose sole role is to dance up front, the festive atmosphere is quickly achieved. It would seem that Guynard & New Formule’s music runs on Celsius degrees and drops of sweat, and in this case, their tank was full.
The long instrumental introduction set the tone perfectly: we’d be treated to songs as warm and expansive as a desert where it’s easy to get lost. But here, there’s no need to wait for a mirage: Guynard’s soaring voice skillfully and tirelessly guides us through the tracks, to everyone’s delight. He leads us safely to the end of bewitching rhythms and clear tones that last eight, ten, twelve minutes… who knows how much time passes, and who cares? To ask the question is to answer it.
What’s more, the concert is well known to all involved. The grooves are tightly wound, precisely so that the audience can loosen up. Isn’t that clever?
In short, Guynard may be trying to take us to Congo, but above all, he’s taking us left, right, forward, backward… and on it goes!
Valérie Ékoumè Gives A Musical Tour of Cameroon
Cameroonian singer Valérie Ékoumè ended her most recent international tour in Montreal, at Nuits d’Afrique. The musician treated the crowd to a varied repertoire of different styles, navigating through makossa, rumba, bikutsi and Afropop. She was accompanied by three excellent musicians (drums, guitar, bass) dressed in elephant masks. All you could see were their eyes and mouths. Valérie Ékoumè explained to the crowd that this is a Cameroonian tradition, where only the initiated know who is behind the masks. Even without seeing their faces, these musicians impressed the audience with their dancing rhythms and virtuoso solos, even descending into the crowd to dance.
Valérie Ékoumè’s voice is powerful and melodious. On several occasions, she asked the audience to sing and dance with her, which the crowd did with great pleasure, so contagious was the energy and so sympathetic was the singer. Indeed, the atmosphere was one of celebration, but also of complicity between musicians and festival-goers. In just a few minutes, Valérie Ékoumè managed to forge a bond with the crowd, and even with the technical crew backstage, who could be seen dancing and having fun to the rhythm of the music. The evening got off to a great start, with joy, good humour and excellent music.