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Night of Cultures and Tales at New Morning

1098284105_249c564c68 Text: Brendan Seibel

Parisians Faren Khan claim to have taken their name from a legendary bandit who roamed the eastern mountains astride a great swine. Legends may have no grounding in reality but this group trades in mythos, creating a soundtrack for their rouge hero. It will be an evening of mixed cultures and tall tales at New Morning, a brief journey through lands forgotten by both time and history.

Two Frenchmen, one alternating between saxophone and melodica, the other surrounded by an anthropologist's collection of drums, a Spaniard with a banjo and an American singer who plays violin. The scope of Faren Khan's music stretches further yet, plucking fables from the dark forests of Eastern Europe, the bustling cities of the subcontinent, and the courtyards of North Africa. These vagabonds roam the world, hopping trains or stowing away on ships, playing the cafes of Cairo and the bazaars of Delhi. The Klezmer of the saxophone melts into a lure for bellydancers, the rural folk of the banjo coaxes a weary but innocent falsetto from the violinist. It is the sound of a place where carpets fly, snakes dance and the scourge of the land rides a pig.

The three displaced Italians who comprise Guappcarto find romance in the cobblestoned piazzas and winding avenues of Europe. Archly dramatic, they invoke the heady days of wandering street musicians by keeping one foot on the clouds, the other in the gutter. Like the métro riding youths chasing after change Guappcarto echos the plangent melodies of Romania, gently stirring the longing of distance through violin, accordion and guitar. What elevates this trio above the buskers is their theatrical performance. They are not so much skilled at appropriation as they are in transformation. From the first string touched to the last key pressed they become minstrels from a different place, and the audience will cry along or clap and dance with them.

A third multinational outfit coalesces around Cameroonian singer-songwriter Simon Nwambeben. Based in Nantes with a French backing group his inclusion on this bill is puzzling. Despite his personal story of building instruments, touring with cabarets, and traveling the world there is no mythos at play. His stories are as direct as his compositions, peaceful guitar-based pop songs with African inflections intended for summery days. Very pleasant, but more befitting a Paul Simon concert than an evening of campfires, folklore and swine riding bandits.

Friday 18 February, 2024 at 9pm
New Morning
7-9 rues des Petites Ecuries
Mº Chateau d'Eau

Bonapart Paris apartments


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