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News - MEDIAWAVE Foundation

2010-05-10 023:05

Baba Zula to take all the credits - reporting from the second weekend of the festival

The artist mostly looked forward to was the "godfather of rap", Gil Scott-Heron on the second weekend of MEDIAWAVE festival. But the musical centre of gravity was in the end: Baba Zula from Istanbul has taken all the credits - in magic, sight and energy.


photo: Molnár Edvárd

When you came across with him among the hammocks of Savaria cinema, you could already feel the musical and spiritual fill in the band, even though they humbly backed out of sight next to the wall, while most eyes were fixed on their Japanese belly dancer - at first sight reminiscing Yoko Ono, only some fifty years younger - and her meandering, shaking body. She displayed her charms and dancing skills during the Saturday night concert of course, though there she was a mere episodist, optical tuning, for some a kind of visual Viagra in the transcendental, modern tribal musical currents.


Baba Zula featured in Fatih Akin's film showing Isanbul's underground music life (Crossing the Bridge) years ago - they were doing their attractively far-out, dub-psychedelic improvisations while sailing on Bosporus. Since then the group was in various international festivals, from Roskilde to Printemps de Bourges to Venice Biennale, and this year they finally got to Mediawave to top it off. With two hours of mad dub ecstasy and ethnical psychedelia, an energetic, overwhelming mix of the past traditions and present technology. The electric saz with a frequent distorter in the hands of Murat Ertel was as convinding that Stratocaster in Jimi Hendrix's. The other founding group member, Levent Akman added contemporary electronic bases on different gadgets, and when needed, he sounded cymbals and spoons to strengthen shamanistic impressions. The third member of the band, Cosar Kamci has added enough mesmerising pulses to all this. It would be hard to dream of a more beautiful and impressive festival closing production.



Although it seemed that Gil Scott-Heron on Friday night, on the main square will be the biggest sensation of this year's Mediawave. After all he has impressed music historic genres, wrote sociocritical songs in bulk, and anyhow, he is a real cultic, self-confident, black soul musician and poet, over 60, on his way to eternity. In addition he has never been to Hungary before, there was a press conference only in his respect where journalists couldn't ask him either of drugs or his prison years, though he had surely much to talk about. Instead he talked in his very muttering, thick way of speech about why he had so much anger and bitterness in his 70s poems and lyrics, why he criticised first, then encouraged hiphop artists, and what his opinion is about the first African American president.


Even more important that this were his human and musical gestures he made on Friday evening, although his very personal, settled music and presentation would have been better of in a more intimate medium (even in the cinema) than on the windy, cool main square, where he had to step in front of a random crowd. But he was not intimidated by thate: he played a single Rhodes to the first bluesy, soul-like ballads and hummed into the microphone. Later on he did that with three musicians more vividly and rhythmically, about an hour and a half long. One could have expected that Scott-Heron will bring out his fresh album (I'm New Here) after a 16-year-long hiatus, but instead he went back and forth in time, and even if one had the impression sometimes that the needle of the LP is stuck, it slipped on soon enough.


Of course not only Scott-Heron and Baba Zula was all of Mediawave's offer for the second weekend, the palette was very eclectic in terms of genres and quality as well, including Deti Picasso, reviving ancient Armenian tunes within a contemporary noise rock environment, Qualitons reliving 60-70s Hungarian beat, or Fókatelep, a heir of Korai Öröm's best traditions, becoming psychedelic folk rock. However, we will remeber those artists that gave a character to the weekend, and those were in fact only two: Gil Scott-Heron and Baba Zula.

Written by: Béla Szilárd Jávorszky

Translated by: Márta Czibik

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2024-03-12 22:12

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