Loonaloop, with Ellika & Solo
at Lift Global Music Festival,
Victoria Hall, Glossop,
Derbyshire, England
(3 July 2004)

I had an exciting taste of the Global Music Festival in Glossop through seeing two of the acts on offer on the Saturday evening at the Victoria Hall.

Loonaloop, a lively five-piece band, was billed as electro/dance music but provided a distinctive world beat, too. Loonaloop was created out of the UK-born Tribal Drift and is now based in Bondi Beach, Australia. The sound revolves around an impressive combination of didjeridoo, electric drum, keyboard, bass, electric violin and female vocals.

The band created a distinctive groove with an ethereal edge. The music was driven by a very strong rhythm section supporting the vocals, and an intriguing use was made of programming, samples and synthesisers. At times the music was trance-inducing and certainly had a shamanic feel about it. Underpinning everything was some powerful violin playing.

The performance was backed up with some startling use of projected computer graphics and creative live filming of the band. Overall, the instrumentals were more memorable than the vocals, which were sometimes indistinct. A great impact was made throughout though by the dancing of the main vocalist, who even used a hula hoop towards the end of the gig, backed up by the didge player. This energetic dancing was reciprocated by the enthusiastic audience. Overall, it was an impressive aural and visual experience!

The duo Ellika & Solo is Swedish fiddler Ellika Frisell and Norwegian-based Senegalese kora player and singer Solo Cissokho. The kora is a 22-stringed long-necked harp that creates a haunting and memorable sound. Solo is from a family of griots -- traditional musicians and story-tellers.

This unusual combination's performance was stunning from the opening Scandinavian tune. This resounded with Celtic echoes and was complemented in a unique way by the rich and resonant sound of the kora. The Swedish fiddle playing was reminiscent of the Shetland style and thus further enhanced the Celtic ambience.

It was quite extraordinary to hear the African harp and distinctive voice combining so effectively with the timeless mood evoked by lively Scandinavian folk music. It really did seem as if these two musicians were made for each other and the Glossop audience was enthralled.

- Rambles
written by Andy Jurgis
published 4 September 2004

[ visit Loonaloop's website ]