Event Review: Chiminyo @ Upstairs at the Ritzy (London; Sunday 9th September 2018)

Chiminyo is a composer, drummer and percussionist who is acutely involved with many of the most iconic projects of London’s contemporary music scene (southern city jazz plus northern city interplay of Turkish, Greek, Romani and Klezmer music). You might hear him bustling with Don Kipper, Maisha or Cykada, let alone on various projects with other notable musicians and artists. This is the solo show of ‘one-man dance machine’.

After touring all summer, in and out of festivals and city gigs, on Sunday 9th September we attended the performance at Upstairs at the Ritzy, where Chiminyo created an insightful show for those lucky enough to be present. It was a constant invitation to move; to let the body feel shaken inside-out by the rapid dialogue, the channelling rattles of cymbals and the thump’s beats. There were electronic sounds from African dance tips, to Indian sitar samples, and from grooves of garage music blended with jazzy spiralling implosion. The trick was the self-designed software allowing Chiminyo to be in complete control of his drumming technical schemes, yet to be free from all Ableton click-tracks, loops and backing tracks that could entrap the very moment-related development of a one-man dance machine live performance.

Every track was a set of snap-fitting, multilayered dance-scapes, breaking through the music genres’ dictated equations of what makes people move and ‘perform dancing’ within certain past and present ideas of cultural legacies. Chiminyo, though, interestingly connects the oldest instrument mankind had designed for dance music (drums) with the most modern tool to manipulate all music (laptop). There is the surplus of the performance in real time – sounds don’t just source out from what our eyes acknowledge as the sources, they inhabit the ambience we are in. Witnessing Chiminyo’s artistry sets up another music’s tale of deceiving sonic appearance, whereby the wider fusion music arms can entail, the deeper music enjoyment can animate our experience of it.

The forthcoming three-track EP I AM CHIMINYO – produced by soundscapes explorer Ben Hayes – is due out in the autumn, so here’s your rhythm passport for the launch event.