“I am thrilled to come back to South Africa to share music. For me the Reunion Tour is about breaking boundaries and to encounter ‘the other’ and their culture in order to exchange and to generate artistic collaboration”, says Florence Chitacumbi.
Voice and percussion are the two sublime elements that underpin the dynamic musical partnership of Florence Chitacumbi and Mino Cinélu. Their upcoming “Chitacumbi – Cinélu SA Reunion Tour” will take place from late April to early May in time to celebrate International Jazz Day. The tour will feature original compositions that highlight Chitacumbi’s strong roots in jazz and Afro-soul, and Cinélu’s gift of rhythmic invention – which, in the words of his late friend Miles Davis, “can make any music swing!”
New York based Cinélu – is the perfect Swiss-Angolan Florence Chitacumbi’s worldly vocal reflections. With some 15 years of friendship, born out of the recording of “Chitacumbi’s Regards Croisés” album, the two artists bring together the riches of their multi-cultural heritage and explored musical traditions, from Congolese rhythms to French chanson. Known for their individual work with artists such as Sting, Herbie Hancock & Weather Report, Chitacumbi & Cinélu have continued to play and tour together, including to Africa in 2018, where they presented their new “Reunion” project at “Jazz à Ouaga” in Burkina Faso.
Their 2019 South African tour will see them perform in Durban, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Lesotho. They will perform as a trio, accompanied by guitarist Christophe Bovet (Bee Bee Honey, Tiza Brown) and will invite a few SA’s top musicians to join them, notably the multi award – winning Nduduzo Makhathini, who will guest on their final Cape Town concert on 4 May. Audiences can look forward to a new creative approach, articulated around sophistication, rhythmic and melodic arrangements that have been lauded by public and critics alike.
The Chitacumbi – Cinélu SA Tour starts on Friday 26 April at Alliance Française, Durban, with a second Durban gig at late night venue, The Chairman, on Saturday 27 April. On Sunday 28 April they will perform on a double bill with the Afrika Mkhize/Salim Washington Quartet as part of the SAJE Festival hosted by Jazz in the Native Yards at Guga S’thebe in Langa. On Tuesday 30 April, they will perform in Bloemfontein at the Loch Logan Waterfront Mall in celebration of International Jazz Day. They are hosted by Alliance Française in Maseru, Lesotho, for a late afternoon concert on Wednesday 1 May (Public Holiday). Their final concert is on Saturday 4 May at SlowLife at the Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, featuring South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini.
A fusion of soul, Creole, Afrobeat – all totally ‘Uniq’
Inspired by the depths of soulful jazz, Creole beats and Congolese rhythms, the 90’s saw Chitacumbi collaborate with numerous artists in London. After her first album release in 1995 “Uniq”, it was in Paris that this singer found her inspiration. Here she joined a community of eclectic artists building bridges between Africa and Europe, with liaisons with the likes of Teri Moise and Julien Clerc.
Florence’s eclectic Parisian encounters inspired the recording of her acclaimed second album, “6éme Sens” (2000). And buoyed on by avant-garde electronica, she initiated a hybrid collaboration with Chistophe Calpini (Alain Bashung), Vulzor and Pierre Drevet (Charles Aznavour). This gave birth to a cycle of performances aptly titled “6éme Sens Revisité” (6th Sense Revisited) in 2005.
In 2006 after years of touring, Chitacumbi returned to Europe to record her third release, “Regards Croisés”. The album featured the heavyweight talents of Yves Ndock (Touré Kunda, Papa Wemba), N’Doumbe Djengue (Salif Keita, Angélique Kidjo) and Valery Lobe (Manu Dibango). And it is here where the fortuitous meeting with Cinélu took place.
Genius Jack of all trades – a perspective storyteller
Praise is something familiar to Mino Cinélu. He has been described as, “the genius Jack of all trades” and his artistry lauded by the likes of Sting, who declared, “Mino can make anybody dance!” Online magazine PopMatters ‘take being, “By the end of a show, Cinélu has not only challenged himself; he’s also told at least a dozen stories by the mere touch of his hands…”
But it’s a glimpse at his collaborators that places Cinélu as a major league player – think Miles Davis, Weather Report and Stevie Wonder to name a few.
From a young age, Paris – born Cinélu accompanied his father and brothers, all professional musicians, to various concert halls around France. Inspired by jazz, soul and the charm of Egyptian chants and Romani music. Mino expanded his musical palette to include African genres, Fado and Asian music.
A multi-instrumentalist, he soon homes in on percussion, exploring the French jazz fusion scene with Bernard Lavillers, Colette Magny, Gong, and Toto Biassainthe. In 1979, he moved to New York, meeting George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Barron and Cassandra Wilson, with whom he shared the stage.
A 1980’s encounter with Miles Davis at a New York club saw the trumpeter snap him up as percussionist in his ensemble. A Miles Davis world tour and duo with Sting on “Fragilidad” followed, and at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, renowned Joe Zawinul asked him to join Weather Report. It was during this period that he also began composing, which triggered his solo career and his first album self-titled release, “Mino Cinélu”.
Ensuing collaborations by the multi-instrumentalist included jazzman Michel Portal, Pino Daniele, Kate Bush, Joe Cocker, Dizzy Gillespie, Tracy Chapman, Elton John, Peter Gabriel, and Lou Reed, plus a tour with bassist Marcus Miller.
Oscillating between his solo career, which resulted in albums such as “Quest Journey” and “La Carlifonia”, and sideman to some of the world’s best performers Cinélu once again joins forces with Chitacumbi on a new project featuring collaborative compositions – it’s a tantalizing Reunion.
Check Jazz It Out gig guide for further details of the Reunion Tour and other gigs taking place in South Africa and our neighbouring countries.