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Eye-catcher: Angelo Moustapha

A new talent has recently appeared on Brussels’s jazz firmament: Angelo Moustapha. The 27-year-old drummer, percussionist, and composer is the new darling of Philip Catherine.

Moved by a wonderful solo, Philip Catherine immediately asked Angelo Moustapha if he would like to collaborate. That was last year at a masterclass in Cotonou, the biggest city in the West-African country Benin. The Brussels based virtuoso guitarist had been invited by the Belgian embassy. As an alumnus of the École supérieure des Métiers d'Art et de la Culture, Moustapha was right at home.

His love of drumming on absolutely everything was obvious long before he started studying. Moustapha was the official drummer of the parish choir at a young age. He would later also accompany his mother and her Yoruba group, lead Les pionniers de Savalou, and be voted the best drummer at the Meilleur Instrumentiste d'Afrique festival. He now also runs a French and a Brussels afro-jazz orchestra, with which, just like with Catherine, he subtly mixes his traditional African background with western jazz, which was injected by listening to Davis, Coltrane, and a selection of American drummers like Dave Weckl and Brian Blade.

In a conversation with Music3, Moustapha says that he has always been a searcher. In this capacity, he also found himself in the ensemble of guitarist Lionel Loueke, his currently more famous countryman who broke through under the wings of Herbie Hancock. About his encounter with Catherine, he says that it changed his life. The concert that he performed at Flagey last summer, accompanied by Catherine, pianist Nicola Andrioli, and bassist Bart De Nolf made such a big impression that the music centre has invited him back for a solo set on African percussion.

22/10, 18.30, Flagey, www.flagey.be

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