In 2020, when cultural and social life had largely moved to the internet, it was pieces like “Stay On It” by Julius Eastman that gave hope – hope that somehow things would continue, that the meaningful, intoxicating energy of music would be experienced together in person again, one day.
The American composer, pianist, singer and dancer Julius Eastman (1940-1990) became known for innovative minimalism and political provocation. Eastman was one of the first to interweave compositional techniques of minimal music with pop elements. His vision of “organic music” and his creative openness gave new impulses to the minimal musical movement.
The performance of “Stay On It” at the opening of the Week-End Fest 2021 will be given by an eight-piece ensemble that has come together especially for this occasion. The work will be played with the original instrumentation, and two dancers will perform their own choreography.
Not only has Eastman’s “Stay On It” provided the motto for this year’s edition of the festival, but with its positive energy the piece also provides the reward for the perseverance of cultural workers in difficult times. It is the hymn of a new beginning.
The fact that this exceptional Brazilian artist will be performing at Week-End Fest 2021 is nothing less than a sensation! As a pioneer of the Trópicalia movement, Gilberto Gil has become a world star who fills stadiums and is celebrated with enthusiastic fervor by his fans. His musical excursions, from the sounds of the Brazilian northeast to reggae and Afrobeat, made him immortal. And as if all that were not enough, Gilberto Gil held the office of Brazilian Minister of Culture from 2003 to 2008. He has shaped Brazil’s identity like hardly any other artist before him. To this day Gil celebrates stage successes all over the world. However, he does not bow to expectations; Gilberto Gil is always good for a surprise.
The young London rapper, Flohio, stands for a new generation of UK hip hop. She combines her fast, sharp flow with powerful beats reduced to the bare minimum. Her productions are characterised by darkly overcast sounds and great musicality – the ideal foundation for her confrontational lyrics. On stage, Flohio is infectious and challenging in equal measure. She proved how little she cares about genre boundaries and purism in hip hop with her 2020 album, “No Panic No Pain”.
Suzanne Ciani is the grande dame of sound synthesis. Today the pioneer of electronic music looks back on an impressive 50-year career. She has experienced the music business from all sides. Her musical contemplations are characterised by warm, flowing sounds and wide arcs of tension. Live, she presents her largely improvised music quadraphonically, which makes her concerts rare spatial sound experiences. This will be a special opportunity to experience the master live.
The forefather of Ethio-Jazz, this fascinating fusion of jazz and Ethiopian musical tradition is Mulatu Astatke. He brought the western jazz music we know back to its origins. He fused the musical culture of Ethiopia with funk, swing and other styles, including South American music. This lively mixture is subject to constant change. The music remains as dynamic and captivating as Astatke’s concerts themselves.
Her vision of jazz is pure euphoria, and her concerts are ritual celebrations that fall somewhere between club events and catharsis. We are talking about Emma-Jean Thackray and her hybrid of nu-jazz, disco, soul, funk and electronics. Her extremely intoxicating sound is driven by feverish percussion, complex grooves and rapturous chorals – a jazz experience of the sweaty kind, drunk on harmonics, beats and happiness hormones.
When Gözen Atila writes that she has freed herself from her academic approach to music with her project Anadol, it is absolutely credible – the friendly lofi synth pop of Anadol is many things, but academic is not one of them. With a wonderfully sure sense of time, sound and humour, Anadol roams the world of inexpensive keyboards and their presets. Each of her pieces greets the listener like an old acquaintance, a timeless classic. We are looking forward to hearing her DJ skills!
Sisters With Transistors ist die bemerkenswerte, bisher nicht erzählte Geschichte der Pionierinnen der elektronischen Musik. Komponistinnen wie Daphne Oram, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Suzanne Ciani und Laurie Spiegel, die sich Maschinen und ihre befreienden Technologien zu eigen machten, um die Art und Weise, wie wir heute Musik produzieren und hören, völlig zu verändern.
Legendary electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani, who performs WEF X on October 9 and who is one of the main characters featured in the Sisters with Transistors documentary sits down for a rare Q&A artist talk with Cologne based journalist and writer Hanna Bächer.
The sound universe of Caterina Barbieri is multi-layered, but not directionless. The studied composer and guitarist prefers to work with melodic patterns and arpeggios, which she creates using her modular synthesizer. These patterns only seem to run in loops – imperceptibly but constantly, they shift and overlap, creating acoustic effects and mirages. Free from the dictates of pop music fashions, Barbieri plays with human perception. With her current album “Fantas Variations” (Editions Mego), she has released a multi-voiced conceptual work and thus opened a completely new chapter.