Live Review: Convergence present Omar Souleyman and Clap! Clap! at Koko


As you may be aware, the brilliant art, music and technology festival, Convergence, took over London earlier this month, hosting a plethora of shows, exhibitions and conversations across London’s best venues. One of the final events of the two week programme saw Omar Souleyman and Clap! Clap! take to Koko.

Omar Souleyman is certainly a unique figure in contemporary dance music. Anachronistic to Western music trends, it’s pretty impossible to compare him to anyone else around, not just because of his background and former profession (Syrian wedding singer) and his attire (traditional Keffiyeh and sunglasses), but because of the bizarre juxtaposition of his live performance. His reserved composure on stage, meandering to the front and letting out measured approving claps at the thriving crowd before him, feels somewhat unbelievable, set against the frenetic fusion of arabic folk and techno, pumping unapologetically from his sidekick’s keyboard and synths. It is truly quite an experience.

Clap! Clap! stole the show that evening for me, however. In complete contrast to Souleyman, the Italian Cristiano Crisci was going nuts behind his gear. Galloping left and right as far as his headphone cord would stretch to permit. It was sensational to watch, but it wasn’t just a performance. I too was sucked in by explosive music he presented live to us. A kaleidoscopic mish mash of rhythms borrowed from Inuit tribes of Alaska,  staccato footwork of Chicago and West African percussion. It so nearly doesn’t work, but somehow Crisci brings it all together and truly dazzled that evening. Further helped by the absolutely stupendous visuals that had me mesmerised throughout. If anyone knows the name of the visual artist, drop us a tweet!

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