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Live Reviews

Fete Quaqua: London, UK, August 19-21, 2012

By Published: September 6, 2012
Four of the ten players were new to Fete Quaqua—Casserley, Northover, de Heney and Ullén. The two Swedes were impressive, as they had been at Mopomoso in February when they played together. The two are an established duo and on each evening they appeared together in a small grouping but never appeared as a duo. The bassist is a dramatic performer who plays all over her instrument, sometimes plucking with both hands simultaneously or banging on the surface, in a style somewhat reminiscent of London's own John Edwards, always providing sympathetic support to other players. The pair were particularly impressive in a quartet alongside Marshall's cello and Toyozumi's erhu, the pianist's inside playing effectively making this an unconventional string quartet. Saxophonist Northover also made a strong impression in all his appearances at the festival, in particular in a trio with de Heney and Toyozumi on drums. Fortunately for those who were not able to attend, most sets were videoed, so this event is well documented on YouTube.

Across the three days, if one set exemplified the special ethos of Fete Quaqua (and Mopomoso), it was a duo pairing Rohrer on rabeca with Toyozumi on erhu, a set in which the sounds of the two contrasting stringed instruments become interwoven, responded to each other and coalesced. Yes, a Swiss-born player of a Brazilian fiddle, and a Japanese player of a Chinese two-stringed fiddle, duetting in London. Ah, the wonderful world of improvised music. Long live Fete Quaqua!

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