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Video Premiere: Duende Libre – Mendiani (Hamana)

Taken from their third album The Dance She Spoke, we have a joyful and uplifting video to share today from the boundary-crossing jazz ensemble Duende Libre who invite you to feel the connection between music and movement, and between the musical traditions of the Americas and West Africa.

Talking about the album, bandleader Alex Chadsey said “This album is an expression of the many forms of connection that inspire Duende Libre, from intergenerational to cross-cultural. In a time of intense social, political, and medical turmoil, we wanted to celebrate the things that are actually working in the world. For us, that includes the human connections and conversations we have with each other.”

Duende Libre has thrived in Seattle’s diverse community, earning a reputation for bringing Latin, Afro-Caribbean, jazz, and many other traditions into life-affirming dialogue. On their latest album, Duende Libre founding members Chadsey, drummer Jeff “Bongo” Busch, and bassist Farko Dosumov welcome Frank Anderson (vocals and percussion) and Chava Mirel (vocals) to the conversation.

It’s great to be able to share music like this, Duende Libre have a powerful life-force that can be felt in their music which connects on so many levels. Their passion for the music and the rhythms is transparent and can be clearly felt on Mendiani (Hamana). More power to them.

Alex Chadsey on the video:

When the pandemic hit Seattle in March and live music was indefinitely put on hold, we began thinking about ways to stay connected with our community through this difficult time. We teamed up with Teo Shantz, an old friend and fellow musician who produces videos. Teo connected us with Tristan Seniuk, an LA-based director, editor & colorist and founder of Onkalo Films. “Mendiani” is the follow-up to “Fefo,” which Tristan produced using pre-existing studio footage. For “Mendiani,” we took advantage of long Northwest summer days and beautiful weather to shoot new (socially-distanced) footage of band members Frank Anderson, Chava Mirel, and Jeff Busch and special guest dancers Dora Oliveira, Anna Matuszewski, and Maurice Caldwell. Tristan added studio footage of master Senegalese drummer Thione Diop overdubbing his tama and djembe parts on our most recent album, The Dance She Spoke. Shooting during a pandemic made logistics more challenging, but in the end we opted for a simple approach that features the musicians and dancers outdoors in Seattle parks and at a historic neoclassical Jewish temple. Tristan breathed life into the video with expert coloring and editing chops. The song is based on a traditional Maninka girls dance from the Hamana region in Guinea, West Africa that is often performed at weddings. Arranged and performed by Duende Libre, this recording features Frank Anderson (vocals and sangban), Chava Mirel (vocals), Alex Chadsey (Fender Rhodes), Farko Dosumov (bass), Jeff Busch (drums and percussion) and special guest Thione Diop (tama and djembe).

Order The Dance She Spoke via Bandcamp:

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