Beginning with a “merci” Akli D, along with guitarist Malik Kerrouch, strummed the show into life with their electro-acoustic guitars at Pizza on the Park.
The downtempo folk sound soon morphed into a more funked up groove, as the rest of the band joined the duo. David Aubaile, whose flute playing features on a number of Salif Keita’s albums, was the first to enter the fray as he entertained with a recorder solo. The rhythm section completed the line up with Michel Pi?©try drumming on a kit, Parrick Piazza on electric bass and Adhil Mirghani playing a derbouka and other percussion.
Knightsbridge was morphed into a Menilmontant caf?© as Akli D’s musical journey progresses
With a grin never far from his lips, Akli D’s vocals were crisp and articulate. The band was strong, backing and complimenting each another. Malik Kerrouch’s guitar twanged sweetly throughout, sometimes with a flamenco or a rock edge; when performing intricate solos, he shone.
Seated at the grand piano, David Aubaile was also terrific and almost a one-man band by himself as he fantastically played either mini keyboards — occasionally with vocal effects — the grand, a recorder or one of his flutes. Adhil’s rapid fingers worked congas, derbouka and other percussive instruments, filling the room with Arabian sounds.
Knightsbridge was morphed into a Menilmontant caf?© as Akli D’s musical journey progressed from Paris to London. With his slight frame topped off with his trademark untamed hair, he led the audience through powerful renditions of many tracks from the new album ‘Ma Yela’. Including a stand out song, ‘Malik’ that longs for history to not repeat the brutality of Malik Oussekine’s killing, the 22-year-old French/Algerian who died after being beaten by Parisian police at student demonstrations in 1986.
Akli D’s charm stirred the audience, who with claps, seated bops and table drumming made the evening far from a stiff dinner jazz affair. As the band’s enthusiasm spread, many of the crowd joined in the fun, rising from their seats answering Akli’s request, “You stand with us”. The dancing that had been lurking in the corner spread with the audience showed their appreciation with their feet, “…C’est Facile!” The infectiousness of Akli D’s smile and the vigour of his music created a lively atmosphere and a splendid night.
Akli D and band continue to tour and they return to the UK early next year with February shows throughout the country. For the full list of dates see his website.
Interview with Akli D
Akli D’s blog