As Dottendorf shapes up to be Bonn’s Jazz Centre with it’s popular Jazz Nights, why can’t Kessenich be the City’s World Music Centre? Where would they play? I hear you ask. Bucherei St Nikolaus (St Nicholas Library) in Putzstrasse is where. Saturday evenings ‘Klein aber Fein’ concert by World Music Bonn proved an excellent live location with an audience that almost outnumbered the books by 8pm.
The idea came from UNCCC’s John Hay. I suspect his love for the St Niklaus Bibliothek is partly grown from the solar panels that are visible from the glass roof of the Bibliothek – John is after all a climate change expert at the United Nations, but it was a masterstroke. It’s certainly a far cry from the original Bibliothek which last year celebrated its 170th Anniversary. If you’re interested John, the solar panels were installed in 2007. Live music though at the Bibliothek is a lot more recent – Saturday evening to be exact.
Entrance the concert show iwasfree, and for drinks there was a collection jar towards the Libraries upkeep on the counter. Put in what you feel like putting in. It’s the sort of arrangement that could only work in a small establishment frequented largely by local residents. Everyone seemed to know everyone it seems, the most distant visitors coming from ‘far away’ Dottendorf or Friesdorf.
As if ‘dropped into place’ by some celestial crane, there’s a large carpet covered stage plonked into place in the centre of the library. Behind it is a red sofa and in front are six musicians, in front of whom are seated rows of eager listeners. John Hay promises us that the name ‘World Music Bonn’ is not just the band, but tonight’s programme, and indeed we are taken around the world, with songs from Indonesia, Cuba, Italy and pretty well every Country where singer Carolin Ds can pronounce the language – which is a wide spectrum indeed!
As a six piece with Juan Isaza they covered the jaunty ‘Chan Chan’ from Buena Vista Social Club and the Cuban ‘El Carretero’ with some deft flamenco fingerpicking from John Hay. I won’t even begin to pretend I was familiar with the material on offer – I only know that what I heard sounded both good, and from the hearts of all performers: Juan Carlos Isaza (guitar/vocal), Carolin D’s (vocal), Eva Henneken (known to everyone at Bonn Folk Club for her violin playing), Budi Rosadiawan (keyboard) and Thiline F Kurukulasuriya (cajon).
I did recognize (and enjoy!) ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ and my favourite song of the evening (wonderful vocal Carolin) Don McLean’s ‘Vincent’. Musician of the evening for me was Eva Henneken – adding an extra dimension to every melody that was played. No wonder she is invited to join so many local folk musicians onstage these days.
Hopefully then, a new local band we can look forward to hearing in the future here in Bonn, and a new venue in the making for World-Music. As UN City with such a varied Cultural mix enriching it’s international identity, Bonn deserves nothing less. If you’re reading this Bucherei St Nikolaus, and World Music Bonn – more please!