The Cat Empire, Balkan Beat Box enthrall audiences at SulaFest

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Nashik, Feb 7 (IANS) Making their Indian debuts at the SulaFest — a popular gourmet world music festival — here, Australian ska, jazz and funk band The Cat Empire and Israeli reggae, funk electronica band Balkan Beat Box enthralled the concert goers with their eclectic and captivating tunes.

Day one of the two-day event, which is being held at the Sula Vineyards here saw a predominantly international line-up bedazzle the weekend revellers, who had turned up in huge numbers.

The Cat Empire, who are coming up with their new album “Rising With the Sun” in March, graced the stage with raw energy and made the audiences jive to their tunes.

The band’s lead vocalist Felix Riebl along with Harry James Angus on trumpet and vocals, Will Hull-Brown on drums, Jamshid Khadiwala on decks and percussion, Ollie McGill on keyboard and backing vocals and Ryan Monro on bass and backing vocals played their popular songs “Sleep won’t sleep”, “Brighter than Gold” and new songs from their coming album.

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Perhaps the most charming aspect of their performance was the members’ range of musicality. On one hand, Riebl was keeping the crowd going with his soothing yet energetic voice and on the other, he intermittently joined in on percussion to enhance the grandiose, multi-instrumental sound of The Cat Empire.

The trumpet solos along with the bass rhythms and percussion added a surreal dimension to the band’s soulful yet groovy, dance-inducing rhythms.

Overall, the band managed to win the audience’s hearts during their first ever Indian show and left them hungry for me.

To satiate the crowd’s musical hunger, London-based singer-guitarist Rodney Branigan wowed them with his unique skill — playing two guitars simultaneously.

Branigan, who is a known face in the Indian live music circles due to his performances with bands like Pentagram, used his soulful voice and his ingenious skills on the guitar to enchant the audience.

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Lastly, Israeli world music band Balkan Beat Box took the stage with elan and continued the experimental music vibe which The Cat Empire had already created.

Featuring a mix of electronica, gypsy punk, reggae with a Mediterranean touch, the band enthralled the audiences for almost an hour.

Day Two of the event, which will be held on Sunday, will feature Kailasa, Reggae Rajahs, Made in Barcelona among other acts.

(The writer’s visit was sponsored by the festival’s organisers. Ankit Sinha can be contacted at [email protected])

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