The man who wanted to rule funk was born white and in Finland


Jimi Tenor seems to be out of place anywhere but on a stage. Skinny, short-sighted and keen on falsetto, the musician is an elusive man of few words who, when he gets on the stage at the Teatro Lope de Vega, turns into the Superman of afrobeat.

Tenor, Monday night’s main music protagonist, fell in love with African rhythms when he was a teenager, but he didn’t develop that passion until he found the Berlin musicians Kabu Kabu, with whom he formed a family on the album Joystone (2007). Now he doesn’t want to be apart from them.

Together, they presented their second collaboration,4th Dimension, with a gig that showed that a big band was all Tenor required to support his jazzy reveries and funky beat. The six musicians’ backing transforms him into more than a white, narrow-throated Isaac Hayes impersonator.

Despite the comfortable seats, the audience remained rigid and impatient throughout the show, wanting to dance but not being able to. Some moved their knees, others beat their thighs softly, a woman moved her earring, others rocked their heads gently. The only one who managed to enjoy the show with absolute freedom was a baby that, from the stalls, danced all he could, especially during Love Is The Only God. The young fan’s enthusiasm even made him join Tenor with little shouts in some of the a cappella moments. The artist seemed to relish it. You could feel the envy.


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