Let it not be said that the musical offerings at this years Alten Zoll Stadtgarten Concerts are predictable. Friday nights mix was a case in point as ’20 Years of the UNO in Bonn saw Reggae cum HipHop band Memoria Sound and Tabadoul Orchestras tribute to Egyptian singer/composer Abdel Wahab make for an eclectic evening of musical delights
If the bands get any bigger the stage will need an extension. Memoria Sound are an enthusiastic troupe of youngsters putting the fun and the energy very much in focus. They are an established name in the Cologne area’s Reggae and Dancehall scene but have a truly UN set-up with members from various nations including Peru and Venezuala.
The international mix led to a change of name from their original ‘Reggae Rockers’ but there is still a distinctly Jamaican air about them though and despite the change of name from their original ‘Reggae Rockers’ and the demise of their dreadlocks brothers Inti and Chaski deliver an electrical set – it was hard to catch pictures of them, or indeed most of their audience, with both feet on the ground. Said audience, including a newly wed bride and groom, gave a loud applause that had the youngsters rightly welcomed back for a little more ‘Ganja’ magic.
Tabadoul Orchestra, like Memoria Sound, were also eight members strong but that was where the similarities ended. with the addition of numerous music stands the musicians barely had room to stand let alone jump. They were also it must be said a little older in years than the Cologne Reggae-HipHoppers who were still doing good business selling T shirts long after their set ended.
The Tabadouls were playing under the abbreviation tonight of ‘www’. No, that’s not what you think, it stands for World Wide Wahab. W W What? you ask. Mohamed Abdel Wahab is something of a legend on the Egyptian music scene. The Father of modern Arabian film musicals, Wahab introduced electric guitar, piano and organ to the genre in the 1930’s. Oddly in an evening devoted to the Man’s music, none of these instruments were present in this evenings presentation.
What was present though was a lively Gypsy sound fuelled by accordian and violin. throw in some breezy brass via trumpet and saxophone, add a sprinkling of vibraphone – the result is an eclectic mix of styles that could all collapse into chaos but actually makes for a hip-swinging cocktail thanks to the band somehow putting everything together. For ‘one nation under a groove’ read ‘One band under a groove. So, I don’t want to hear any complaints from Egyptian Jazz afficianados that Bonn has nothing to offer them – Nice one Hans -Joachim Over and Frau Christine M. Merkel, Head of Culture, Communication, Memory of the World at the German UNESCO Commission who certainly came up with something a little different.