Hey Mr. Sven Kacirek, where are you from and how did you get interested in music?
I started to take drum lessons when I was ten. At the age of 12 I joined the punk band of my elder brother. The band was called “Abschaum” which means “scum”. Later on I played in different Jazz and Funk bands. When I was 15 I took some piano lessons. I started to learn marimba quite late. I think I was in my late twenties already.
What can you tell us about the music in this mix? Where do the recordings or records come from?
Gonda has been recorded in 2009 during the “Kenya Sessions” trip. Agnieszka Krzeminska who joined me on this trip shot a video of the session. Siguera has been recorded by Stefan Schneider and myself three years ago during the “Rangala” Recording Sessions.
The album „The Kenya Sessions“ came out in 2011/2012. How did that project come about?
The choreographer Angela Guerreiro asked me to create the music for her new dance piece in 2008. The rehearsals took place in Addis and Nairobi. In Nairobi Angela introduced me to Johannes Hossfeld, the director of the Goethe-Institut Kenia. He invited me to come back to Kenya one year later to start the “Kenya Sessions”-project.
Is there an explicit musical narrative to the „Kenya Sessions“?
Each track has its own story. All the narratives have been written down explicitly by music journalist Goetz Steeger in the linernotes.
The Mukunguni release came out on Honest Jon’s? How did that connection come about?
One year after the release of the “Kenya Sessions” I travelled to Kenya together with Stefan Schneider. On the Coast we recorded the music of Salim Mwatela and his band. Honest Jon’s liked the recordings and decided to put it out. One year later the two of us travelled to the village of Ogoya Nengo. Again we recorded her wonderful music without playing anything on top. Honest Jon’s released this record in 2014. Since then Ogoya Nengo and her Dodo Women’s Group has been on tour in Europe three times. Last year Stefan Schneider released her second album “On Mande” on his brand new label “TAL”.
The original recordings and your productions are fantastic pieces of music which surely weren’t that easy to to realize. What can you tell us about your artistic approach?
It is not that complicated. I took the original recordings and added some of my instruments like drums, marimba, vibes, percussion, piano etc. Sometimes I changed the original arrangement by cutting the original tape. That s basically it.
Where did the passion for music from East Africa and Kenya in particular come from?
I did not choose it. It all happened by accident. Angela Guerreiro brought me to East Africa in 2008. Before that I was not very familiar with music from this region. The only thing I knew was music from Ethiopia. Meanwhile I have become a fan of the Kenyan styles Benga and Ohangla and of course I am a big fan of Ogoya Nengo. She is one of the greatest musicians I have ever met. What a voice, what a character! Unfortunately she does not speak English and unfortunately I do not speak Luo… Allthough we like each other and we very much enjoy spending time together.
What are you currently working on?
Stefan Schneider and I just finished our second album, that will be released by Bureau B in March, 2017. The great singer Sofia Jernberg is singing on three tracks of the album.
Next week I am recording together with Stefan and John McEntire (Tortoise). After two days of recordings we are playing one concert at Westwerk in Hamburg. The following week I am performing together with the choreographer Johnny Llyod in Tilburg. As soon as I will be back in Hamburg Stefan and Sofia are coming to my place in Hamburg to work on new material. I am pretty sure that the three of us are going to release our first record as a trio in 2017 or 2018.
Then I am travelling to Kenya again. Together with Agnieszka Krzeminska who already joined me on the “Kenya Sessions” trip in 2009, and Daniel Muhuni, a great musician from Nairobi. We are going to record many interviews about the EPA negotiations. Then we are going to turn those interviews into musical compositions that will be released next year.
Since 2008 the EU and the AKP states have been negotiating a free trading agreement called EPA. In the already agreed text, each East African Country ought to have opened up 82.6% of its market over a period of 15 years. There are major concerns that this agreement would, in fact, stand in the way of development. Andrew Mold, The UN ́s economic analyst for East Africa, said: “African countries cannot compete with an economy like Germany’s . As a result, free trade and the EU imports endanger existing industries and future industries do not even materialise because they are exposed to competition from the EU.” When Kenya ́s president Kenyatta refused to sign the agreement, Europe imposed tariffs on Kenya’s cut flowers, potentially making their blooms significantly more expensive than those grown on European soil. As the cut flower industry started to feel the pain, Nairobi snapped and signed the contract. Turning this topic into music will hopefully attract more attention in Europe. Most of the people in Europe don t even know anything about this.
Is there a piece of music that inspired you recently?
Some days ago I played at the “Salon des Amateurs” in Düsseldorf together with Thomas Klein, the drummer of Kreidler. We recently released an EP (Rhythmus I-IV) on Bureau B. The resident DJ Tolouse Low Tracks played a wonderful record before the concert. It is called. “Six Synthetic Suites” by Luc Marianni. Wonderful music !
iTunes / direct mp3 download