Event of the Week: Hotter Than July
Free open-air concert in Smithfield celebrates Ireland’s growing diversity
Yankari is a Dublin-based Afro-beat collective led by Nigerian bass and drum brothers Segun and Michael Akano and vocalist Uche Gabriel Akujobi
Nothing has transformed the Irish musical landscape more over the last couple of decades than the arrival of artists from around the world who have chosen to make a new life in Ireland.
Sponsored by Dublin City Council, and programmed by the Improvised Music Company, Hotter Than July is more than just a free open-air concert. Part of the Big Bang Festival of Rhythm, which runs all weekend, the sixth edition of this multicultural love-in is a chance for Dubliners of all ages, races and creeds to come together in a family-friendly, alcohol-free environment and to celebrate Ireland’s growing diversity.
The party starts with a procession from Afro-Brazilian drumming troop Maracatu Ilha Brilhante. An amalgamation of local samba troops from all over Ireland, they’ve been practising their infectious grooves for months and their high-energy performance will be the perfect opportunity to get the dance muscles warmed up.
From 3pm, the stage will positively hum with music, and Sugar Club favourites mixtapers Woweembeem, are on hand to fill in the gaps with globetrotting DJs sets.
First up are Dublin four-piece OJO featuring the beguiling sound of the hand pan, a descendant of the steel drum, which gives their world-fusion a buoyant, Caribbean flavour. Then Namangaia, a Dublin-based quintet in the Forró tradition of northeast Brazil, cook up gentle folkloric grooves with a “dry tuned” accordion and the unique grooves of the zabumba drum, worn by the player like a marching drum.
Kakatsitsi are an acclaimed group of master drummers from Ghana, well-known to Glastonbury audiences for their hypnotic collaborations with the Orb. From Accra, one of the spiritual homes of west African music, the group includes two of Ghana’s most respected drum masters, Samuel ‘Injoly’ Addo and Okoe Amarteyfio. As well as a full performance in Whelan’s on Friday night as part of the Big Bang Festival, and drumming and dance workshops on Saturday for Dance Ireland, Kakatsitsi will take the Smithfield stage on Sunday at about 5pm accompanied by Mbilou, a shaman from the Bitwi religion of Gabon playing the mougongo (mouth bow) and the nagoya-ngombi (harp).
Bloco Mulêketú is an award-winning samba-reggae troop or “bateria” from Paris, specialising in the Batacuda rhythms associated with the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Regarded by many as one of the best “blocos” outside Brazil, this is the fifth year they will bring the infectious rhythms of carnival to Smithfield.
Hotter than July would hardly be complete without a performance from Jiggy. The multinational Irish group led by fiddler Daire Bracken and percussionist Robbie Harris blithely collide the native tradition with whatever happens to fall into their collective laps, from folkloric Indian to contemporary hip hop, coming up with an irresistible confection that won the hearts of the world a couple of years ago when their Silent Place video became a viral sensation.
Bringing proceedings to a banging finish will be Dublin-based Afro-beat collective Yankari. Channeling the spirit of the great Fela Kuti, Yankari are the real deal, led by Nigerian bass and drum brothers Segun and Michael Akano and vocalist Uche Gabriel Akujobi. It is impossible not to dance when they start doing their thing.
Smithfield Square, Dublin, Sunday 28th, 3pm-9pm improvisedmusic.ie