The Guess Who, this festival without borders in an idyllic city 2 hours and 15 minutes from Lille

This festival is heaven for diggers, obsessed with discovery: the premium Swiss label, Bongo Joe Records, a regular here, presented their latest finds, African nigra, from Sao Tome and Principe and his singer dressed as a mercenary. And in the Big Hole series, we’ve never seen such a number: prostrating early evenings to classical music in church and afternoons in a club, to thumping future Tanzanian finds at 300bpm (DJ Travilla).

branch ? A pity when the four day pass is cheaper than Zenith’s Gold Square. crouched? once in a while. But in this world ready to be consumed (on your couch), music, here without a hitch (in terms of style, country…), can really turn up the volume.

In the huge Tivoli complex. Photo by Tess Jansen

It is earned, often requires minimal effort, and sometimes you have to insist. But at this price one shows oneself as a spectator. Surprise and amazement is a source of pleasure and amazement.

And even stronger than that: I emerged from Guess Who with a much more sensitive and sacred relationship with music.

Holy, there were some in Hatis intended, translating “stalk of the lotus flower”. A strange bird whose voice is the only instrument. France Musique tells us that it draws its inspiration from traditional Japanese classical music, Central European polyphony, and Western opera. An experience where you live barren moments and wonders.

Hatice Nuyt - Image by TIM VAN VEEN
Hatice Nuyt – Image by TIM VAN VEEN

We found him at the after party. Appearing in the picture in the live cinema Vincent Moon. After performing concerts in the Blogothèque seen by REM, Arcade Fire or Sigur Ros between 2006 and 2009, the French artist left everything to explore and record traditional music and religious rituals all over the planet. Five years of world touring and many musical folklore now mixing it right in. His show is built in the form of a collection of climaxes, descents and moments of ecstasy. A wonderful combination of travel and the richness of human cultures in contrast to the general downturn.

Serum - Image of TIM VAN VEEN
Serum – Image of TIM VAN VEEN

Slovenia didn’t just give birth to bears, basketball players and cyclists. There are also musicians, rather original in this case. triple Serum, composed by Iztok Koren, Samo Kutin, and Ana Kravanja, displays a unique imagination and erudition, expressed in more than a dozen wacky instruments at times (anything that sounds good, it’s reminiscent of early Jack). The score oscillates between folk and acoustic rock, for fun vibes and totally unique sensations.

Staples Jr. Singers - Photo by Haas Gilmer
Staples Jr. Singers – Photo by Haas Gilmer

Our big dilemma on the first evening (second for the festival, unfortunately we had to give up on Thursday) was: the Rap group Clipping at the Tivoli scheduled around the same time as the revived Old Bluesmen, Staples Jr. singers. By an intelligent calculation of the odds (perhaps also the information Clipping sends to Lille on November 28th), we have decided in favor of the Staples Jr Singers in Church Choir. Without regrets, it was a unique moment. The first time this family band played together again far from the Mississippi Delta.

The audience stands at the end of the Staples Jr Singers concert at Janskerk Church.  Haas Gilmer's photo
The audience stands at the end of the Staples Jr Singers concert at Janskerk Church. Haas Gilmer’s photo

In fact, the gospel group released their first and only album in… 1975: When do we get paid, was recorded when the younger members were still teenagers. This past May, David Byrne’s (ex-Talking Heads) label Luaka Bop had the brilliant idea to reissue this rare record. A chance to verify that the plaintive voices of these singers are still as luminous as they were nearly fifty years ago. What they did not take long to prove, after a timid start. Very quickly, the spectators from the Janskerk church gave up their seats to accompany these revived singers in rhythm. animated sequence.

Irina and Vojtek Havlovy.  PHOTO TIM VAN VEEN
Irina and Vojtek Havlovy. PHOTO TIM VAN VEEN

Irina and Vojtek Havlovy It also made us travel, but in our inner beings. Their loving broom brought tears to our eyes. When we entered the church, they were both on cellos. The proposal was not clear, and the place was empty.

Irina and Vojtek Havlovy.  PHOTO TIM VAN VEEN
Irina and Vojtek Havlovy. PHOTO TIM VAN VEEN

After about twenty minutes, Irina went to the piano and made the melody queen. He gently got up and put his hand next to his wife’s. Moving the three-handed harmony and it’s not over yet. They reversed roles. Taking Irina’s place, Irina took the place of Foetek, standing up. Then Vojtek got up, Irina continued to play. A few minutes later, the liturgical organ was heard. Vojtech. Irina ended up joining him. Long and wonderful minutes, there was only the sound, the sound of the organ. Before us are two empty chairs and a piano. And Irina and Vojtek, unseen, are on the platform. Music lifts spirits, let us give thanks for its beauty.

Idriss Acamour and the pyramids.  Haas Gilmer's photo
Idriss Acamour and the pyramids. Photo: Jelmer de Haas – Photo: Jelmer de Haas

no, Idriss Acamour and the pyramids Not an Egyptian collective. The extremely talented saxophonist was born in Chicago before going into exile on the West Coast of the States. He shines with his versatility: composer, actor, tap dancer, producer and director. At almost 72 years old, he also imposed graciousness on stage. He brilliantly led the Pyramids, a warm afro-jazz orchestra that emerged in 1972 and reformed after a long break. Fifty years and a few new musicians later, the sheet music is rich in instruments, from brass to strings, not to mention percussion. And a few veterans such as flautist Margo Simmons (a member of the original group) and violinist Sandra Poindexter, an old colleague, bring extra spirit to this supercharged group.

Idriss Acamour and the pyramids.  Haas Gilmer's photo
Idriss Acamour and the pyramids. Photo: Jelmer de Haas – Photo: Jelmer de Haas

The crowded room swayed frantically. Note that the double vinyl album, Futuristic Afro Dreamsis expected next year.


What madness goat ! Landed a Swedish group in 2012, which was already marked by the wearing of masks and costumes on stage, but above all by the release of an extraordinary rock energy as we can appreciate in Ronda do Tivoli. Heavy metal in its opening (lots of guitars on stage, it must be said), the show gets more psychological afterward, with the singers’ vocals enhancing that feel. embarrassed.


On the other hand, disappointment is still on the blast-packed Ronda to welcome the electric experimental group Kokoko! It was just Débruit (Xavier Thomas), the French producer, and one of the four other members of the Congolese group. Which inevitably lost warmth and difference and gave the show the appearance of an ensemble, without the magic of sound that was surprising nonetheless, created from homemade instruments (one-stringed bass, cross-shaped ukulele, writing drum machine or slouchy water bottles).

Kokoko!  drop.  Photo by Martin Mugman
Kokoko! drop. Photo by Martin Mugman

with DJ TravillaIt is the euphoria, fun and madness that swept us away in a whirlwind. Mad from Tanzania and carried by the very prominent Nyege Nyege Festival. Of the artists on this avant-garde team (also a label) that is shaping the future of African music and music in general, Travilla is without a doubt the one that has fascinated us most so far. His music is Senegalese, electric at the crossroads of several cultures (Arab, Indian and African) and was born in Tanzania ten years ago. ” Simultaneously borrowing from taarab, kwetu, tanzanian hip hop, soukous…inspired by traditional polyrhythms Vanga Zaramo and techno on super fast beats, ranging from 180 to 300 bpm He writes a pan-African webzine. Concretely, we feared the sound would be inaudible, not because Travella changes rhythms and intensity. It’s exhilarating. Go to Transmusicales de Rennes. I run to see him.

in the basement of the foundation.  Photo by Tess Jansen
in the basement of the foundation. Photo by Tess Jansen

My first LGW

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you in detail everything that makes this festival so unique, Laurent actually did a very good job last year when he discovered it. But even so, I can confess to you that I was a little worried about not being shaken as much as at the festival where I have my bearings, and the idea that the musical performances don’t do me a little bit or fit, despite or because I’m soon to be 50.

But all of that, we finally forget very quickly, much of the fun lies above all, at LGW, in allowing ourselves to unsettle and deal with countless artists of all stripes. A celebration of sound, promises the Utrecht Festival. Promise kept! Sound in all its forms, coming out of all instruments, in a place as impressive as Tivoli, one of those imposing Protestant churches, or in a dark cellar on the edge of the city’s canal.

The celebration is more fun because it takes place in this very enchanting and very carpe diemIt feeds on culture, herring, and multiple feast places. In short, the angry taste of return. BM.

But by the way, why Le Guess Who??

On this absurd question, for a long time we were entitled only to silence or utter “Ah yes, that’s right.” However, if this Dutch festival sounds English, the LE that precedes it sounds good from home. After extensive searching, we finally got the answer at the heart of an interview with Bob Van Heuer, Festival co-founder, for Consequence Of Sound.

Well, that’s almost true! Bob’s answer, back in 2012: “ We started in 2007. It was just a crazy idea of ​​me and Johan (Jesin), my festival partner, to invite Canadian bands because there were so many Canadian bands at the time and we somehow fell in love with that kind of sound. So we started as an all-Canadian festival – which is why the festival was called The Guess Who and the
It looks like the French part of Canada. and group guess who, naturally. They made a song called american woman But they’re from Canada and I think a lot of people think they’re an American band. » BM

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