By Solomon Elusoji
Recently, at the Freedom Park, Lagos, Berlin-based Burnt Friedman performed with Nigerian percussion singer, Wura Samba, under the auspices of the Goethe Institut’s “Back to The Future of Dance” project. The concert was a tremendous success, as the crowd at Freedom Park were thrilled by the dexterity and strong displays from both artists.
Goethe’s “Back to the Future Dance” project is aimed at bringing together different musical styles from different cities around the world, in a bid to promote cultural exchange and exposure. Marc-Andre Schmachtel, the Goethe-Institut Nigeria’s director, told THISDAY that, “this project is about comparing music cultures in five African and five European cities. It is all about an exchange of musical styles and culture.
“We bring musicians from different backgrounds to perform together. For example, we try to link traditional music with electronic music, and with that you can give young people the chance to perform in a more independent way. Friedman was this month’s selection.”
The 48-year-old Friedman runs his own label “Nonplace” in Berlin. He has released singles such as “Plays Love Songs” (1999), “Con Ritmo” (2000), “First Night Forever” (2007), amongst others. Before performing on the night, he spoke to THISDAY on the kind of music he plays.
He said: “I am prepared to play a set of rhythms. My work is combined with rhythms. I’m combining rhythms from all areas of the world. So, what I do has to do with the mathematics of rhythms. And I am trying to look for common ground; if there is music on this side of the planet, then they should be able to comprehend this kind of rhythms, because my belief is that rhythm is a universal language. It is just that different cultures have been trained to listen to different kinds of rhythm.”