OFF Festival Katowice 2016: A Whole World of Music

The OFF Festival has always been home to a wide (and alternative) variety of world music, but the genre has had a special place here since 2014, when we honored the memory of Oskar Kolberg. As in years past, the Experimental Stage will devote one whole day to traditional artists: both those who cultivate that tradition and those who contest it. This year be sure to check out Odpoczno, Islam Chipsy, Ata Kak, Janusz Prusinowski Kompania, Orlando Julius & the Heliocentrics, and Jambina.

This isn’t going to be one of those relaxing concerts: you’re going to have trouble standing still. Get ready for passionate interpretations of folk music from the Opoczno area. While Odpoczno clearly borrow from traditional music, their creative approach adds elements such as jazz and improvisation. The quartet consists of musicians from very different backgrounds: Joanna Gancarczyk is a singer who honed her craft under the eye of village musicians; Marek Kądziela is an excellent jazz guitarist, Piotr Gwadera plays drums for L. Stadt and Mister D., while violinist Marcin Lorenc has been known to play the mazurka with the likes of Maciej Filipczuk.

Islam Chipsy
We have no idea how to describe the insane music played by Islam Chipsy and his trio EEK, but the reviewers at the world’s leading music websites can’t seem to figure it out, either. One thing is sure: hailing from Cairo’s underground music scene, this producer creates things that are absolutely unique and fascinating. Cacophonous and almost grotesque keyboard lines, frenetic drumming, and traditional Arab melodies come together on their debut album Kahraba. Expect to see more of the same — but more intense — at their live show.

Ata Kak
Were you moved by Sugarman’s story? Then get a load of this: In 1994 a certain Yaw Atta-Owusu from Ghana self-published a fascinating album titled Obaa Sima, combining dance and Afro-house with original rap. The record was released in an astounding run of 50 cassettes… and then the trail went cold. In 2002 the American collector Brian Shimkovitz bought a copy during a visit to Africa and was so enthralled with it that he started a now-famous blog (and later a label) devoted to popularizing music from that corner of the world: Awesome Tapes From Africa. Shimkovitz searched for the artist in vain until 2014, when he finally discovered that Yaw Atta-Owusa had been living in Canada, was doing find, and was ready to head out on tour. Obaa Sima was officially re-issued last year, and we’ll get to see Ata Kak this August in Katowice. It’s a small world after all…

Janusz Prusinowski Kompania
The band describes itself as the disciples and successors of village musicians, but they’re also an avant-garde act with an original sound and their own improvisational language. They speak the truth. Led by Janusz Prusinowski, the group creates original and compelling reinterpretations of folk music from central Poland: hence the enthusiastic reviews of the albums Mazurki, Serce, and Po kolana w niebie, as well as warm receptions from audiences all over the world. If you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t be caught dead dancing the mazurka, we hope to see you front and center, and we’re willing to bet you’ll give it a shot.

Orlando Julius & the Heliocentrics
It’s a true honor to host at the OFF Festival one of the pioneers of Afrobeat, a veteran of African jazz, the outstanding Nigerian saxophone player Orlando Julius. His 1966 release Super Afro Soul has been credited as a main source of inspiration not just by Fela Kuti (a bandmate of Julius’s at the time!), but also by the heroes of American funk music, who borrowed wholesale from Orlando’s ideas. But get ready for more than just reminiscences at this show, because the Nigerian legend is still writing and recording. To hear what he’s been up to, check out his 2014 release Jaiede Afro.

We rarely get to hear any interesting music from South Korea, but if they have any other bands as brilliant and original as Jambinai, then we have some catching up to do. The creators of the dreamy yet noisy album Différance have found an entirely unique way of combining their country’s musical heritage — also expressed through the use of traditional Korean instruments — with the apocalyptic force of post rock. This is going to keep you up at night.

Other additions to the festival line-up include:

Goat (the one from Japan, this time) features a lineup that’s guaranteed to leave you trembling. An electric guitar, saxophone, bass, and drums are always a sure sign of noise, and this band is no different. Just know that Goat likes to shape its noise into seductive, trance-inducing patterns. All of this makes Koshior Hino’s compositions at once urban and tribal.

Jenny Hval
Jenny Hval has conjured up quite an extraordinary world. Music this intimate, personal, and rich is a rare find indeed, but the sheer talent displayed by the Norwegian artist is all the more unique. No wonder she’s managed to pull some famous names into her sphere of musical hallucinations, including Jaga Jazzist’s Øystein Moen and Thor Harris of Swans. Her career began to pick up steam following the release of the album Innocence is Kinky (Rune Grammofon), while the record Apocalypse, girl merely cemented her standing among Scandinavia’s leading visionaries.

OFF Festival Katowice 2016 line-up (announced so far):
Devendra Banhart, Anohni, The Kills, Mudhoney, GZA, Lush, GusGus, Thundercat, Minor Victories, Kiasmos, Napalm Death, Jaga Jazzist, SBB plays „Nowy Horyzont“, Sleaford Mods, DJ Koze, Zomby, Lightning Bolt, Andrew Weatherall b2b Roman Flügel, Brodka, Kaliber 44, Orlando Julius & the Heliocentrics, Liima, Daniel Avery, Clutch, Mutoid Man, Powell, Zimpel/Ziołek, Basia Bulat, Janusz Prusinowski Kompania, Syny, Beach Slang, Willis Earl Beal, Jenny Hval, Flatbush Zombies, Machinedrum, Yung Lean, Mass Gothic, Jambinai, Islam Chipsy, Show Me The Body, Ata Kak, Goat, Fidlar, Odpoczno, Rosa Vertov.

3 Day festival Pass from £42 / 53 Euros + booking fee
Camping Pass from £12 / 15 Euros + booking fee
Buy tickets here

About OFF
A truly unique boutique music festival, OFF Festival takes place in ‘Three Lake Valley’, Katowice – a beautiful green oasis in the heart of industrial Silesia on 5-7th August 2016. OFF Festival is a way of life, one that flies in the face of current trends and stays true to itself, and the ethos of organiser Artur Rojek is firmly aimed at supporting art and music with the festival bringing many acts to Poland for the first time. OFF Festival is growing in prominence year on year driven by the festivals forward–thinking, eclectic music policy. From the greatest alternative music stars from around the world to the increasingly strong Polish scene, OFF festival has inspiring music in abundance.

About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and House. A man that lives in a world of beats and bass, and total confusion about life!