Qairo music

Qairo is the meeting of four cardinal points, a musical travelogue

by Maria Flip

Háblame de silencio’s intro, a fine tribute to Jan Garbarek, played by Lara Wong, an anamnesis of Astor Piazzola’s nuevo tango, and sang regally by Alejandro Mendía.

Music is played on the streets, while travelling, incorporating the sounds of the journey. In a post colonial world, where the art of the subalterns is no longer suffocated under the burden of the “civilised”, a hybrid of the tunes and beats is being born. Qairo is the meeting of four cardinal points. Following back the tracks of the gitanos from Canada to Spain and to the Balkan peninsula, to make their way through the Middle east and Asia. Α musical travelogue to the roots of street music.

When I listened to Qairo, the three singles, released last March (available on bandcamp.com, soundcloud, itunes and spotify), I was very surprised to catch that very unique flamenco sound that you don’t get to experience very often outside of Spain. An interesting aspect of the songs is, that their respective intros don’t really predispose you for their rhythmic and melodic advance.

Rama verde moves through a middle eastern ambient into an Andalusian cadence. The cajón and the flamenco clapping mingle with the flute and the clarinet producing an unparalleled union of the eurasian traditions. Háblame de silencio’s intro, a fine tribute to Jan Garbarek, played by Lara Wong, progresses towards an anamnesis of Astor Piazzola’s nuevo tango, sang regally by Alejandro Mendía.

The bass and guitar (Manuel Vázquez) blend with the smooth accent of the drumset and the lament of the clarinet of Dorian Zavatta. Aixa is probably the purest union of balkan and flamenco music ever executed, and watching their live performance, accompanied by the dancers Lia Grainger and Deborah “La Carmelita”, the intersection points of the two cultures come to be blurry.

Their music captures the pain and sorrow as well as the alegría, the joy of life on the road. It is personal and it reaches the core of the universal beat, the one that gets one on their feet, to move and dance. The carefully arranged bass lines, along with the flamenco guitar and cajón create a balanced dialogue with the wind instruments.

The craftsmanship and the mature sound of the musicians transform this experimental union into a sonic experience. Where do the nomads of the world meet and what is their international idiom? Qairo’s sound carries these questions and molds them into an omnipresent tribute to the musical pilgrims of the world.

Go ahead and give Qairo a listen, you will love it.

Read more music reviews by Maria Filippou here.

Maria Filippou is a freelance writer based in Athens, GR and Berlin, DE. She recently published her first poetry collection on Amazon KDP and is working on her first fiction novel. Maria grew up in rural Greece, therefore relocating to the capital was enough of a change for her.  Hence, she has been spending her time in the chaotic city of Athens. After many years as a barista and after a brief career as an art curator, she decided to accept her destiny and devote herself in the monastic life of writing. When she is not attending jazz concerts and writing her book, she teaches Spanish, English, Greek, and does yoga. Maria has written under the alias of CAROLINE.

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