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Ibibio Sound Machine lights up Whistler July 11

The band brings a fusion of African culture and electronica to the stage
British electronic afro-funk band Ibibio Sound Machine.

Get ready for a cultural revolution of sorts to land in Olympic Plaza next Thursday as Ibibio Sound Machine carries on the 2024 Whistler Summer Concert Series. 

Ibibio, the native tongue of a coastal people based in southern Nigeria, is a cornerstone of band vocalist Eno Williams' ancestry. She spent much of her childhood in Africa despite being born in the United Kingdom and is proud of her heritage. Ibibio as a language is naturally rhythmic and often used to tell parables or morally significant folklore by its speakers. 

These traits left an impression on Sound Machine co-founder Max Grunhard, a saxophone and synth player. He and Williams began experimenting with mixtures of African and Western music back in 2013, eventually bringing guitarist Alfred Kari Bannerman, percussion specialists Anselmo Netto and Jose Joyette, trombone player Tony Hayden, bassist Derrick McIntyre and trumpeter Scott Baylis into the fold. 

"I think it's all about trying to bring people together," Williams says about the band's philosophy. "We like to get people in a room and uplift them, bringing a joyous vibe and happy energy. What you see live is sort of different from what you hear in our records...with the live show, we always try to add a bit more of the traditional sounds." 

Ibibio Sound Machine's self-titled debut album and its follow-up, Uyai, both featured tracks sung in the band's titular language. They've subsequently incorporated English lyrics more frequently so fans can sing along. 

Williams and her mates have played at the Rifflandia Festival on Vancouver Island before, but next week will be their inaugural time in Whistler. 

"We're really looking forward to coming,"  says Williams. "We can't wait to see you all, honestly, and to experience other artists as well. I hear the people [of Whistler] are really lovely, and the place is really cool, really beautiful and pretty." 

DJ Doc Rhythmo will set the stage on July 11 at 6:30 p.m. before Ibibio Sound Machine kicks off its concert at 7:30 p.m. More details are viewable here.