As the final week of CICLO took place during UNESCO’s Arts Education Week, the South African artist Pops Mohamed came to Copenhagen in order to participate together with the other CICLO artists from around the world. Pops Mohamed is one of South Africa’s most recognised multi-instrumentalists. Working as a musician, composer and producer, his aim is to protect and preserve African traditional instruments. He plays the Mbira, the Bushmen mouthbow, the Kalimba, the Kora (lute harp), the Uhadi (Xhosa bow), the Umrhube (played by the Xhosa women), the didgeridoo and a number of hand percussions.
Arriving early Monday morning, he gladly joined the other artists for a visit to Peder Lykke Skolen, Amager. All the artists had a guided tour showing how a ‘school without doors’ work and to see the location for two joint concerts between Pops Mohamed and Paulo Santos (Brazil) the next day. After having arranged the sound technical details, the day ended with a final meeting at the Danish Cultural Institute preparing for the final event at the DR Concert House.
Tuesday started at Peder Lykke Skolen setting up for the two joint concerts. Both Pops Mohamed and Paulo Santos had brought their fascinating instruments and were excited to play with each other. In fact, they were so excited about each other’s instruments that they agreed to play a mashup bringing African and Brazilian traditional music together. This had an immense effect on the structure of the final shows at the DR Concert House the following two days. The two concerts at Peder Lykke Skolen were fantastic and inspiring, as Pops Mohamed talked about joining forces for peace across the human race and told stories about how the Kalahari Bushmen treasured nature’s cycles by living in pact with the bees. All was accompanied by delightful music and all in the spirit of CICLO.
The final event in the DR Concert House took place during Wednesday and Thursday. After having done the sound checks in the morning, everything was ready for the children to arrive. Once again, Pops Mohamed delivered a fantastic concert using his traditional African instruments. Especially, his Kora excited all the children and his African song caught them by surprise. The concert ended with a new mashup between Pops and Paulo which involved every child in the music. On the second day of the event, Pops Mohamed had the pleasure of playing for her Royal Highness Princess Marie. He didn’t miss the chance to play his never-released song called ‘A Theme Song for Princess Marie’. The princess enjoyed the song written during Pops Mohamed’s last visit to Copenhagen and he was happy to finally be able to play it for her. Pops Mohamed had a wonderful time playing for the children. Children and their future is one of his major concerns and he enjoyed being able to inspire them, bring them together and show them his African roots.
Text by Martin Persson, The Danish Cultural Institute