Friday 27 June 2014

Kae Sun @ Koffer

Fête de la musique is an annual fixture in the Berlin calendar (and worldwide in fact), with both large and small venues presenting a plentiful assortment of musical acts. The lineup of performances last weekend was a little overwhelming; there were shows all over the place, at the same time, spread out aaall over the city. Admittedly I didn't commit to a whole lot of research, but I did happily chance upon a certain last-minute addition to the bill: Kae Sun at Neukölln's Koffer Bar.

Hailing from Toronto but with strong roots in Ghana, Kwaku Darko-Mensah, who goes by the stage name Kae Sun, is a deft singer-songwriter with a sound encompassing a rich blend of soul, folk, world and reggae fusion music. He's supported an impressive list of artists, including the likes of Janelle Monae, Speech Debelle and K'naan. Sampling his dulcet tones and unique sound via his Soundcloud stream got me keen to experience the real thing, so I got down to the cosy Neukölln haunt to show some well-deserved support.

Arriving at Koffer, a cute café/bar perched on the corner of Weichselplatz, the atmosphere was still pretty chilled; he was anticipating a petite turnout. Sat at the bar, Kae Sun greeted me with a warm appreciative smile and we ended up having a sweet pre-performance chat. The location itself was ideal for a low-key kinda gig, with off-beat interior touches lending an added charm.

By the time Kae Sun hopped onto the stage, the venue had filled up considerably, but managed to retain its intimate character. Armed with his trusty acoustic guitar, the Ghanaian-Canadian talent immediately captivated the crowd with his lyrical depth, soulful tone and endearing stage presence. The short but sweet setlist comprised of a mix of upbeat and deeper tracks, which nicely exhibited his style versatility and vocal range. A number of his songs explore thought-provoking socio-political themes, approached with a beautiful sensitivity - the audience totally clung on to every word. Recalling his native Ghana with final number Weh Weh, parts of which were sung in African pidgin, the conclusion of Kae Sun's set perfectly welcomed in the evening's anticipated Ghana x Germany World Cup fixture. And he sure sung as passionately as the African side ended up playing.

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