What began as a music workshop and cultural
exchange involving African and Western musicians has developed over three years into a
band playing exciting new music built on African styles that interact with concepts from
other parts of the world and the latest technologies in innovative ways.
Quite a few African-Western collaborations take
place these days, but no other has produced the results heard on this recording.
Amadou Leye M`Baye, Monimba, Lassiné Koné
Composer-drummer Lukas Ligeti and his project
partner, seminal German new wave musician Kurt Dahlke, brought the latest MIDI equipment
and other computerized and electronic gear, as well as Ligeti`s main instrument, the trap
drum set, to see what would happen when traditional African musicians began stirring those
electronic spices into the cross-cultural musical stew. The Africans were as eager to
explore the new territory as Ligeti and Dahlke were to work with traditional artists.
The computers and samplers were used to treat
sounds and forms in ways not usually associated with world music, and to facilitate
polymetric ensemble interplay. But far more than a product of any technology, the music
was the result of all participating artists inspiring each other, with Ligeti`s
breakthrough approach to polymetric drumming (listen to "L`Escalier du
temps","Langage en dessin", and Village dans 8 pays") serving as a
catalyst for musical creativity with his West African partners. He tuned into their
styles, with intoducing his own compositional approach, which in itself is based on an
openness for the most unusual forms of inspiration.
Aly Keita, Babagalé Kanté
The result of this adventurous collaboration
makes no attempt at smoothing out some of the jarring collisions of eras, cultures and
styles. The musician in the large ensemble that is BETA FOLY listen to each other, and
play music in the moment. In THIS moment. It is very much music of today, music that
reflects what is going on in global societies, where regional differences are preserved
even as the musician meld them with any number of other elements, so it`s no suprise that
there are references here to worlds as seemingly disparate as techno and Korean, samba and
punk, out jazz and psychedelic rock. And it is music of a very busy, very energized world,
where many different experiences happen simultaneously. Overall, it is exuberant, joyous
music filled with possibilities.
The closest Ligeti will come to putting a label
on this new music is to say that it is "avant garde meeting the roots of rock and
jazz", roots which are present as living and functional elements within the musical
traditions of West Africa.
Listen to this recording with the same open mind
and ears that its musicians had when they recorded it. There are layers of music and
meaning, shifting centers and focus. And this one recording where being able to listen
repeatadly can pay off, as more subtle points and textures move to the listening surface.
- Larry Kelp -
released by : Intuition Music, P.O. Box
270126, D-50508 Cologne - Germany (INT 3216 2)