The French Institute have brought the Didier Labbe Quartet, an established quartet about a decade old now, out from France to play various gigs in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng (Pretoria and Johannesburg). One of these was the Fete de la Musique in Melville on 28 June 2014. Another is at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown on 3 July 2014 in the DSG Hall at 22:00. I was at the latter concert.
The programme notes say: Saxophonist and flautist Didier Labbe is a uniquely inspired creative mind who draws inspiration from a variety of genres (jazz, improvised music, popular music, Mediterranean and African traditional music) and artistic expressions (cinema, theatre and dance). As artistic director of the performance company Cie Messieurs Mesdames (Ladies and Gentlemen), he has over 15 years of experience in crafting ground-breaking productions that explore new landscapes of sound and sight. Having toured extensively throughout Africa, Europe and South America, recorded a dozen albums an been the recipient of numerous awards, his work promises to deliver a memorable and inspiring performance. Dancing alongside the band will be talented South African dancer, Kholisile Theo Ndindwa from the iKapa Dance Theatre in Cape Town.
The Didier Labbe Quartet has recorded four albums and are probably best known to African audiences for their tribute, Echo to Abdullah Ibrahim, to the South African composer and pianist in 2010. Abdullah Ibrahim’s music is characterized both by its dominantly festive aspect and its spiritual dimension, giving it great depth. This quartet presents some pieces from the South African composer as well as personal compositions from Didier Labbé, writing with the composer’s music in mind.
Didier Labbe (saxophones, flute), Jean-Luc Amestoy (accordion), Olivier Brousse (bass), Alain Laspeyres (drums) with Tlale Makhene (percussion) and Theo Ndindwa /Mbulelo Ngubombini, (dance).