July 19, 2018

Obsession Comes To A Venue By The Lagoon

By LogbagaLogbatu

Jazz musicians Céline Rudolph (Germany) and Lionel Loueke (Benin Republic) will be performing the Lagos leg of their West Africa Tour at the Jazzhole in Ikoyi on Thursday July 26.

The gate opens at 7pm.

The tour, organised by the Goethe Institut, is themed “OBSESSION” , with live concerts across West Africa.

The Lagos Concert is in co-operation with Jazzhole, the renowned music and bookstore.
The tour had taken off in Dakar (Senegal), from which itwent to Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Lomé (Togo).

After the  Lagos (Nigeria) performance, the duo moves to Accra (Ghana) and round up with a home game in Cotonou (Benin).

A singer playing the guitar. A guitarist who sings. An album on which these two exceptional characters show that in music, too, the whole can be bigger than the sum of its parts. Their common “obsession” opens up musical horizons, sounds like jazz and singer-songwriter-elegance, a trip from Cotonou via Rio to Memphis and Berlin. It is music that speaks for life, blues and pleasure. This duo, which at least sounds like a band, sometimes even as an orchestra, sings ten favorite songs, sometimes English, sometimes French, sometimes the Fantastic Célinish or Lionelish. It is believed that the pieces have always been known after the first hearing, but only one interpretation (Caetano Veloso’s “O Leãozinho”), the rest comes from the feathers of the two possessed.

“The duo cast is the biggest challenge,” says Céline Rudolph. “There are just as many risks and freedoms, which is exactly what I like about it.” Lionel Loueke nods and adds, “Céline is not only a great musician, she is a great person and that makes her music even stronger, This is a very unique project because there were no limits. The music we play is not easy. It is also a challenge to make tracks in odd meters easy, bring them into the flow.”

This album is the culmination of a musical liaison that began as spontaneously as it still seems. Five years ago, the two musicians met for the first time in Berlin – an echo jazz-winning singer who had successfully translated the chansons of Henri Salvador, the body and stomach guitarist of Herbie Hancock, with her own four albums at the label Blue Grade.

“On the evening in Berlin, we talked not only about music, about food and life, but also CDs,” remembers Céline Rudolph. “A little later Lionel wrote me how enthusiastic about my music he was. I spontaneously invited him to my studio session with drummer Jamire Williams in New York. There, in the Brooklyn Recording Studio, the duo-version of “Le Vent du Nord”, which can be heard on the album, was created. We were both so excited that we decided to record a whole album just for two. In 2015 we met at the A-Trane Studio in Berlin … ”

She had written a few pieces, he added the hopeful story of the “widow of Mali”, together they developed the title track “Rêve Obsession”. “At the very first meeting, I felt that we had traced very similar tracks despite different paths. Lionel from the French-speaking Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Paris, Jazz studies in Boston, California to New York. I from Berlin, German-French grew up with chanson, jazz, African and Brazilian music, jazz studies in Berlin, percussion in West Africa, band in Brazil.

I listen to these tracks in our music: the gentle sound of our voices, the percussion in the voice, the fun of the rhythm, the playing and the discovery. We both love the acoustic guitar. When we play live, we share my classic guitar, which I received at 13 from my mother. ”


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