Transglobal Underground bring their multicultural fusion to town

Transglobal Underground, innovative leaders on the world music circuit since surfacing in the early 90s, rank as a highlight on the local agenda for this year’s European Music Day celebrations. The UK-based collective, a multicultural fusion act which recently released a well-received eighth album, is scheduled to perform this Thursday night at Kotzia Square. Currently preoccupied with the construction of a new house in the south of France, the popular vocalist Natasha Atlas, a part-time yet lasting contributor to this collective, will not be among its cast for Thursday’s show. Co-founder Tim Whelan, aka Alex Kasiek, offered his comments to Kathimerini English Edition ahead of Thursday’s performance. You’ll be playing a street show at one of the city’s squares for this visit to Athens. How does it compare to playing at a regular venue? Does it affect the set list, or playing? Playing in the middle of the city isn’t easy to predict… It depends on how close we feel to the audience. It’s important to do both club shows and outdoor city or festival shows. If we only did one sort we’d miss out on the other. Your latest album «Moonshout» has been described as one of your most diverse. If you agree, was that intentional? Is there much discussion between the band’s members about the musical objectives before making a new album, or do you just let things go wherever? We always talk about what we’re trying to do and what we want to create musically before we start work. But we always end up doing something completely different from what we’d intended! One reason this album is so diverse is that, at one point, it was two separate projects. One was to be dance floor-based, the other more acoustic. But it’s all us, so in the end it all went into the mixture. Overall, your music’s exciting and entertaining. Though possibly less obvious, there’s also a serious aspect in there too: In fusing so many styles and being a multicultural act, you’re also sending out a political message of togetherness… We’d like to think that what we do is now fairly normal… It was unusual when we started. On most of our albums we’ve avoided too much political comment in the songs because you can feel it in the music. On this album, we’ve made some clearer statements in places. But they still don’t make much sense without the music, so if anyone wants to know what they are, they’ll have to listen to it. Do you feel any hope amid the seemingly worsening political state of the world? Yes, but if you’d asked us at the time of our last album, we’d have said «no.» So many supposedly wise, powerful and intelligent people have proved themselves to be stupid, impotent and ignorant to the point where their ability to impose their stupidities on the rest of us is diminishing. A few words about the Iraqi hip-hop act Aiwa which appears on the new album? They’re based in Rennes in France. Naufalle is the rapper in the group and we’ve known him for a long time. We’re doing two shows in the UK with them next week, and have remixed a track on their new remix album. The contacts and collaborations we do with other artists, such as Aiwa, Yank Rupkina from Bulgaria or Blasted Mechanism from Portugal, are very important to us.

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