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[Video-Reportage] Chinah @ Ja Ja Ja Berlin, 2015

Annett Bonkowski

CHINAH performing at Ja Ja Ja Club Night, 12th November 2015, FluxBau, Berlin

Putting on a monthly club night is no walk in the park. When two bands have to cancel their performances at rather short notice, the alarm bells go off without a doubt. With AV AV AV and Boeoes Kaelstingen pulling out of the event, the organisers quickly came up with new bands though. Chinah (DK) and Emmecosta (SE) completed the brief jumble concerning the line-up and promised to be more than a worthy replacement along M-Band from Iceland. Despite the last minute line-up changes, the performing bands were greeted by an audience that knew how to be attentive and supportive at the same time. The overall atmosphere in the softly lit FluxBau was carried by a laid-back vibe that echoed sparks of excitement in its corners. The evening was driven by a more pop-orientated musical theme being infused with the occasional electronic soundscapes.

The Swedish trio Emmecosta kicked off the night with their mellow and dreamy songs that evoked gentle imagery throughout the whole performance. Drops of melancholy softly being washed away without haste much like the calm water of the riverbed that could be seen from the venue’s windows overlooking the river Spree outside. For just a little over half an hour, Emmecosta wrapped the audience into something that felt like a sonic blanket that remained on the shoulders of those who were willing to give into this warm gesture of kindness.

The appreciating quietness turned into a more lively mood with Hörður Bjarnason arriving onstage afterwards, also known as M-Band. The tall multi-instrumentalist gave the audience a glimpse of the influences he is drawing from places ranging from house to folk or even world music, but his love for atmospheric electronica shines through it all. The beat-driven music he created with the help of synthesizers, samples and loops left more than a few people in the room shuffling their feet. Bjarnason himself preferred to play his set barefoot, equally appearing emotionally naked in terms of his vocal performance.

A recent buzz triggered by the Danish newcomers Chinah and their singles “Away From Me” and “We Go Back” also accompanied their first show in Berlin. With a decent amount of praise in the blogosphere recently, the audience was clearly aware of those two songs. Having played the Ja Ja Ja club night in London earlier in September this year, the band was now ready to pour their fusion of synth-pop and R’nB melodies into people’s ears in Berlin. They may still be young, but are crafting pop songs so mellow and catchy that they have surely won over some more people eagerly awaiting their upcoming EP. With Fine Glindvad’s flawless singing and the band’s approach to minimalistic pop-electronica, they delivered a promising outlook on what they are capable of that night.

Read more

[Ja Ja Ja Berlin] An interview with Chinah

Quotes from the German music industry

Fine Glindvad from Chinah performing at Ja Ja Ja Club Night Berlin (Foto: Sara Lindbæk)

Annett Bonkowski is a musicologist and freelance writer based in Berlin whose work has been published in various print and online media such as Intro, Musikexpress or NBHAP.

Foto and video by Sara Lindbæk