Sven Kacirek The Kenya Refworks Bibliography


Sven Kacirek studied drums and marimba at the conservatory in Arnhem/NL, at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg and at the Drummers Collective in New York City. Besides his cooperation with musicians and bands like Hauschka, F.S. Blumm, Stefan Schneider, Jan Dvorak, Jan Plewka, Martin Bisi, Alexander Schubert and Uwe Haas, Sven has composed and performed music for modern dance theatre pieces and contemporary ballet. He worked with choreographers like Angela Guerreiro, Filip van Huffel, Antje Pfundtner, Johnny Lloyd among others. In 2009 Sven Kacirek composed the soundtrack of the movie »Five Ways to Dario« by Dario Aguirre.

This is the first time »The Kenya Sessions« is available on Vinyl, licensed from the german label Pingipung. For »The Kenya Sessions«, Sven Kacirek traveled through Kenya, equipped with loads of microphones. A pretty solid idea. On »The Kenya Sessions« we find recordings of kenyan singers and musicians carefully composed to a flow of 15 pieces mixed with Percussion-, Marimba- and Piano-elements. What strikes most while listening is the outstanding quality of the recordings and the accuracy of Sven’s work. It’s hard to tell which elements are added via overdub and what was recorded in Kenya which results in a very organic listening experience. That’s when a »drumming kenyan community’s welcome ceremony« gently forms into the track »Dear Anastasia« sung by 80 year old kenyan women Ogoya Nengo. Sven’s sensitivity for »the gentle tone« which could cast a spell on the listener already on »The Palmin Sessions«, gets lifted to a whole new level on this kenyan cooperation…


released February 24, 2012

Catalog Number: AVM 045
Format: 2×LP/Digital

Recorded by Sven Kacirek in Kenya & Hamburg; Produced & mixed by Sven Kacirek at Jaffestrasse 10, Hamburg; Mastered by Sandro Lorenz, Rosswein; Photos by Agnieszka Krzeminska, Hamburg; Designed by Kristin Wurm, Hamburg


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This isn't exactly a unique concept: a German drummer/producer travels extensively in Kenya, gathering field recordings and studio performances by local musicians, brings the resulting tapes home to his studio, messes around with them, and creates something new, something simultaneously ancient and modern. Such projects have led other artists to be accused of musical colonialism, but it's hard to imagine anyone leveling such charges at Kacirek, partly because he conscientiously and consistently puts the musicians he has recorded out in front, both in musical terms (they are always at the center of his arrangements) and in the liner materials, which prominently feature photos of the musicians and credits their contributions in detail. The album's centerpiece is "Dear Anastasia," a song in the dodo style sung by nearly-80-year-old Ogoya Nengo, but the program is filled with highlights of various kinds: the glistening, multilayered mallet keys on "Kayamba Tuc Tuc" (featuring the Chimanga Kayamba Orchestra), the complex flute-and-drum interplay on "Lamu Sunsail," the frantically rhythmic homiletics (underscored by subtle percussion) of "Takaye Preaching." Kacirek's musical embellishments are always tasteful and always serve to showcase the Kenyan musicians and their various traditions, and the result is a wonderfully moving document.

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