The Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra is setting up a beautiful big boat for us with barka, one of the opening shows of the Montreal completely circus festival. Even if the circus arts occupy a lesser place, everything is a matter of celebration in this fascinating show, whose watchword is interbreeding.
Posted at 9:00 a.m.
As in After the nightthe festival’s other opening show, music takes center stage in barka (boat, in Spanish) by the creative duo of the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, Juan Sebastian Mejia and Carmen Ruiz.
Styles range from Colombian cumbia to gypsy jazz to samba, tango and ska. A merry feast, one could say, so much the rhythms of African origin seem to possess all the characters on stage, that is to say a dancer, seven musicians and three circus artists.
As much as the musicians venture into a few circus experiments, especially tightrope walkers, as much as the circus artists dance and make music.
Songs in Spanish narrate the stages of this musical journey. The pretext which binds all the elements is moreover that of a boat crossing, on board which the spectators are called upon to board to gesticulate and dance there at certain times of the performance.
And the cruise is really fun, bringing with it an audience won in advance, spectators who seem to have more than ever the taste for laughing and moving. In 75 minutes, barka relies less on the circus than other shows, but it gains in rhythm, color and contagious warmth.
Multidisciplinary circus artist, Nathan Biggs-Penton impresses by performing as a dancer disguised as a woman, a porter, a tightrope walker, an acrobat and a juggler. He performs his juggling act by sometimes circulating bundles of two or three pins at a time.
Not to be outdone is the rope specialist Brittany Gee-Moore, who also does two excellent Cyr wheel acts.
Appearing like a somewhat hysterical stowaway in this drifting boat, Alexie Maheu performs a rather original number on the Chinese mast. Then she also gets into the Cyr wheel.
In fact, the energetic work of directors Patrick Léonard (co-founder of Les 7 Doigts) and Ricardo Soler Mallol (specialized in theatre) ensures that the performances of the artists never stop, in the foreground or in the background, which gives rise to a festive chaos that is all in all well organized.
For pure circus enthusiasts, the evening could be surprising, but the liveliness and joy of the artists on stage will not leave anyone indifferent. We are constantly surprised to clap our hands or feet in front of this crazy swerve. Another proof that the pleasure of finding the performing arts indoors and live had become necessary and that it is beneficial.
De Girovago/Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra
Under the TOHU big top until July 17