Sven Kacirek & Daniel Muhuni: Economic Partnership Agreement

Sven Kacirek & Daniel Muhuni: Economic Partnership Agreement
Pingipung 059

Interviews from Kenya about an “Economic Partnership Agreement” (EPA) mark the core of ten compositions by Sven Kacirek and Daniel Mburu Muhuni. They have spoken to dozens of people who might be affected by the planned free trade agreement between the EU and the African Pacific Countries. While EPA is being negotiated mainly outside of the limelight of international attention, this album of musical oral histories is an approach to shed a critical light onto the complex circumstances and inhumane side effects of global trade.

The spoken words are the vocals of the tracks. The artists have left the rhythm and tonality of the voices untouched, and the statements have simply been collaged into subthemes. Subsequently, Kacirek and Muhuni have dubbed the voices with their instruments: mallets, piano, percussion, synthesizer, and many more.

The result is nothing less than a mesmerizing stream of consciousness. It sometimes reminds of sound collages by The Books, of Steve Reich’s “Different Trains” or of Jan Jelinek’s repetitive soundscapes. “Economic Partnership Agreement” can be listened to as an audio play or musical documentary as a whole while individual tracks such as “There Is No Rain” stand out as single hits.

Sven Kacirek has played and collaborated with Shabaka Hutchings, John McEntire, Nils Frahm, Sofia Jernberg and Stefan Schneider among others. He has travelled to Kenya many times, always on the quest for musical inspiration and collaborations. The most famous result are his “Kenya Sessions” (Pingipung 2011) as well as “Mukunguni” and “Rang’ala” (Honest Jons 2013/14).

Daniel Mburu Muhuni is a percussionist from Nairobi who took part in the BLNRB project conducted by the Teichmann Brothers in 2012.

With this new album, the two artists focus on an intercultural exchange which aims at more than beautiful music: Unveiling voices about global trade from a Kenyan perspective.


"Vor allem aber nimmt die Musik die Stimmen derer ernst, die von diesem Leben berichten. Kacirek und Muhuni spielen die Sprachmelodien der Interviewten nach, mit Marimbas, Daumenklavieren, Perkussionsinstrumenten. So wird aus den Erzählungen der Bauern und Aktivisten, aus ihrer Aufregung, ihrem Zorn und ihrer Enttäuschung ein eigener Klang.

Über ein Jahr hat Sven Kacirek an diesem Werk gearbeitet. Und sich zunehmend geärgert: über Politiker, die angesichts der Flüchtlingskrise erklärten, man müsse die Fluchtursachen bekämpfen, und in Verhandlungen wie denen über das Economic Partnership Agreement genau das Gegenteil machen."

Christoph Twickel, Die Zeit, 25. Dez. 2017

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