THU: 25º/14º FRI: 23º/16º
Concert review | Rawkeké w. Moussa Diallo, Mikkel Nordsø & Klaus Menze
**** (4 stars out of 6): July 15 at Mojo
Mojo was packed as tightly as a pair of lips on a trumpet on Sunday night when Rawkeké brought their brand of “heavy blues” to Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Moussa Diallo led the charge on vocals and electric bass, with guitarist Mikkel Nordsø and drummer Klaus Menzer rounding up the trio of fine musicians.
Billing themselves as “Mali-inspired world blues”, the group played an enjoyable mix of Afro-funk and traditional blues. The Mali influence comes from Diallo’s heritage. The singer/songwriter was born to a Malian father and Danish mother, and was brought up in Bamako, Mali. Moving to Copenhagen in 1974, the musician found success fusing together western and African sounds.
The Sunday night set of joyous and uplifting music made most audience members’ legs jiggle rhythmically – fighting the urge to get up and dance, because there was no room on the dance floor. So dense was the crowd that many had spilled out onto the floor – this reviewer included. Seated cross-legged, looking up at these three talented musicians, and seeing them play their instruments so masterfully, was a delight.
Mikkel Nordsø and his host of peddles played some long guitar solos that got the crowd clapping. Closing his eyes and letting his mouth twitch to the music, Nordsø’s expression was always on the verge of smiling. Exchanging smiles between each other throughout the set, it was plain that these three guys were really having fun up there. The feeling was contagious.
Diallo’s fingers galloped so quickly along the strings that one could only imagine the giant calluses he must have. At times he threw in some funky slap bass, and during the African-inspired songs, Diallo swung his hips from side to side, closed his eyes and brandished a wide smile filled with a set of perfect pearly whites. With a smile like that, and charm to boot, it was no wonder a cluster of middle-aged Danish women had assembled in the front row. One of the women with long blonde hair could have been part of the hippy movement in Christiania during the early 70s. She and her competitors watched Diallo like a pride of lionesses, ready to pounce. The leader of the pack caught his sparkling eye: “Lena, I haven’t seen you for so long. You look great, as always. It’s so nice to have you here.”
Then Diallo cheekily asked them to roar with him. “I am the lion and you are my goats,” he beamed. He led with “rawwwrrrrrrrr” and the women followed with “maaeeeeehhh”. And when he finally invited them to dance to the band’s last song, the groupies took their chance.