Initially when you think circus, your association is with clowns, elephants, acrobats and tightrope walkers.
With its origin in the ancient Rome and Greece the circus started in the early 14th century. The idea was to entertain the common public with a spectakulum of some sort. The circus evolved over the century’s and became part of every country’s tradition, a travelling group of performers that magically suddenly appear in town and within a fortnight they disappear again.
An afternoon or evening hosted in a magnificent tent with a voluptuous ringmaster, who announces acts and all sorts of other entertainment and visual stimuli. You have acrobats flying through the air and you can hear astonishing ‘ohhhhs and ahhhs’ from the audience.
And then there are the clowns, we cannot forget to mention clowns when you talk about circus. They come in all forms and shapes and are usually easily recognisable by oversized cloth, wild hair and intense make-up. Initially created to entertain larger audiences by self deprecating jokes and clumsy stunts.
However, with clowns it is like with marmite, you either like them or hate them. If you really, really hate them, you might suffer from Coulrophobia, commonly known as the fear of clowns. You might find them sneaky, scary and just grotesque. When you hear the word clown you might instantly think of the Joker in Batman, Donny Darko (although more of a rabbit than a clown, but similar effect) or Stephen King’s IT. Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the personification of the evil clown, which are the building blocks to the clown phobia.
And then there is the ‘other type’ of circus.
It evolved slowly and subtly in the 21st century or maybe even before. It is full of energy and surprise, it’s a mischievous mix of provocative shenanigans, a patchwork, a kaleidoscope of surprise, disguise, diluted boundaries and perception. Weird and wonderful, unexpected, alluring and insane. There is no real term to describe it, some people refer to it as cabaret, variete, night circus, gipsy or burlesque. It is fluid, evolving, captivating and unleashes unexpected passions.
Plato famously once said ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’; what appears is all subject to interpretation, perception and emotional connection.
As a human being, you like the enchanting element of escapism, you like to leave your worries behind and just BE, be entertained, be transformed and be surprised; either through sound or movement. The combination of both dazzles senses, thoughts and anything beyond.
Be prepared to be provoked, captivated, allured, spoofed and amazed. Not many bands and performers do that nowadays, especially in light of a 21st century circus, but these 4 marvellous troupes nail it: Chivaree Circus from London, Projecte Otradnoie from Barcelona, Gentle Mystics and Molotov Jukebox. Each an entity of their own, one of a kind and not to be compared with others; all crews are influenced and inspired in any shape or form by circus performances.
Projecte Otradnoie capture the attention through sudden changes of movement, possibilities and expression.
Chivaree Circus is a collaboration from famous London town and describes themselves as an international troupe of performers of discord and harmony.
Molotov Jukebox are a 6 piece band, relentlessly known for their sound, energy and stage presence. To quote the Washington Times ‘ a hodgepodge of cultural flavours spiked with rock and soul to create an eclectic cocktail of musical genius and frivolity’.
Gentle Mistics are a just ZAAANNNG, weird and wonderful. They only meet every once in a while during the year and are performing at selected shows.
All of them mixed together are an intoxicating blend and motley potpourri of breath-taking performances. Their subtle variances in style make them even more interesting and to combine them in one event is an occasion that needs to be celebrated.
Brace yourself to a night of beauty and poetry, surprise and delight, suspension and persistence. You can experience the illusionists, acrobats and performers live at a raucous soirée at Generator Barcelona.
About the artists
Gentle Mystics have been creating musical wonders for the past 7 years, maintaining an underground yet vibrant existence across many countries of the world. Often riding individually outside of their native London, the band only come together for a few weeks in a year to perform a handful of shows, where their unique fusion of otherworldly music hypnotises many. Their fans are loyal, their shows are immense and their self-titled debut album has sold a few thousand and counting, gaining international respect as it transcends all walks of life.
In May, they will be releasing a 20 minute classical remix, a video for ‘Hark’ taken from their debut album and completely fresh material later in the year. Potent solo projects from Noémie, Cosmo and Harky are also well underway, much of which will be released through their label, EMSP.
This summer they are playing main stage at Boomtown Fair with other UK appearances at Secret Garden Party, Kendall Calling and Sunrise to name a few, with dates in Spain, France and many more TBA. 2013 is another great year for the Gentle Mystics and their fans and they stoke the fire even more.
Molotov Jukebox are a six-piece, genre dodging, leviathan of an experience, poised to take the world by storm. Incorporating trumpet, accordion, violin and the sultry tones of lead singer Natalia Tena over the most concrete and inventive rhythm section since Buddy Rich and James Brown had an illicit love child, this is a band born out of love; love of each other, love of music and a love of making whole roomfulls of people dance til they fall over (or fall in love).
Causing a riot from the UK festivals all the way to Brazil (their most recent tour destination), here is a band with almost universal appeal. Innovatively blending such diverse style’s as gypsy, samba, ska, dubstep, swing and anything else you care to mention, all in their own inimitable style, the unique sound of this band has been christened “Gyp-Step” and is guaranteed to make everybody dance.
Feature images courtesy of Lilu Khaos, all artist images their own.