Etran Finatawa at Chicago Folk and Roots Festival: Live review
If not for the inclement weather Chicago would have been treated to a musical display akin to the video above.
Lightning prohibited that from occurring.
Etran Finatawa, comprised of members of the Tuareg and Wodaabe nomadic tribes hailing from Niger, was set to close the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival as put together by the venerable Old Town School of Folk Music.
The recent swell in appreciation for acts traversing musical territory marrying Western guitar based rock with insular and distinct tribal traditions coincides with the spate of Afro-centric funk compilations issued over the last few years (see the TOC review of Next Stop…Soweto).
Whatever the reason for the growing interest, a mid-sized crowd stuck around Welles Park Sunday evening underneath skies rippling with grey hues indicating the impending downpour. With an excitable introduction, Etran Finatawa, bedecked in traditional tribal gear, ambled gently towards microphones, amps and percussive instruments.
The troupe, silent apart from the sound of instruments being shifted from one position to another, trickled into its first number as a sprightly rain began. Matching the lackadaisical precipitation, Etran Finatawa droned a desert folk song while audience members, conscious of the changing weather, began to leave. Its serpentine guitar lines backed by simple percussion and supported by vocal harmonies wasn't enough to keep folks around too much longer as the rain continued unabated.
After the group's second song, it was announced that impending lightning precluded the concert from continuing. On the way out, concert goers were told it'd be helpful if trash found its way into garbage cans. The throng of hippies waiting as long as possible to make an exit, took issue with the pronouncement and mounted a lame chant decrying the festival's end. Not to worry, we'll be back for more next year.