This is how the Toine Thys Trio describe themselves and they were unwavering in taking us to a beautifully melodic place of worship on Thursday night. This special performance before the big day at the Kasarani stadium, was a much needed get together for those like me who are curious about different cultures.
Before putting a spell on us, we were first taken through a sneak peek of their culture. I wish I could put my finger on what it is about food and drink that brings people together. I think it’s the warmth and comfort that comes from sharing food that could be seen as communal.
What first took me away was their beer.
Especially La Chouffe.
La Chouffe as I’m told, is a Blond ‘Gnome’ unfiltered Belgian beer with warm fruity and coriander tones and a light spicy hops character.
La Chouffe has not only won hearts in Belgium and surrounding Europe countries, it’s also adored around the world – and the reason why it’s a gnome beer is because of the beer’s origins. Legend has it that it was brewed from an original recipe, whispered into the brewers’ ear by dwarfs in the Valley of the Fairies and true to its word, it did kick my little gnome behind.
With 8% alcohol volume (as opposed to the 4% we’re used to), the hammer as I now call it, went down really well with the scrumptious bitings provided by Le Grenier À Pain.
Knowing Belgium’s rich culture, it’s only right that Le Grenier provided snacks. The nation’s cultural diversity, enriched by local and international immigration has ensured a diversity of “ethnic” palettes so it’s only right that the popular French bakery catered the party
Away from the food and really good beer, Belgian music put us in a spell.
Toine Thys Trio featuring Hervé Samb almost put us in a trance that night. At some point I thought it was the good food speaking to me but this was all the work of Jazz.
Hervé knows how to work a crowd. I promise there was no bias served in this paragraph but Hervé reminds me of Jon Bon Jovi. The charisma he oozes when he plays the guitar is magical. [I also call him that because of his hair]
But I guess that’s what we get when we fuse Senegal with Western African persuasion – a beautiful marriage deserving of the warmest praise.
Now, imagine when Senegal and Belgium meet on one stage? Intoxicating to say the least. I almost think Herve and Toine Thys Trio had a bit too much fun putting us in that trance. They take us through some of their originals from The Optimist, their album that describes some of the challenges they went through to record and produce the album. They don’t talk about their story, but you can hear the joys and tribulations through their guitar strums, the softness of the drums and the warmth of Thys’ clarinet.
The compositions, rooted in groove, are influenced by soul and African music.
The playing of Hervé Samb on several of the tracks brings the music
even further, either through his hypnotic Francophone accompaniment.
Hearts were melted and souls were healed in this production.