Ottoman Slap has proven itself as a band able to create a beautiful and memorable backdrop to events and functions seeking ‘that special something’, as well as a group that can take the reins and present a thoroughly entertaining show in more focused settings such as theatres, soirées and shows where the arts and culture are treasured.
Besides performing original pieces composed by the group, Ottoman Slap performs and draws from a range of ethnic and traditional music, including Andalusian and Romanian folk songs, Kletzmer and Arabic musical treasures we discover along the way. Our musical line-up includes vocals in Spanish and Roma, saxophone, trumpet, saw, hulusi, mandolin, guitar, accordion, double bass, darbuka, daf, riq, cajón, zills and castanets.
During performances where the context allows for a movement element, Marissa (director of Soma Fusion Bellydance Company) enriches the musical offering by performing Tribal Fusion Bellydance. This dance form – regal yet celebratory – is a most apt dance accompaniment to our unique blend of traditional and contemporary music! Arrangements can also be made for duo or group bellydance choreographies to accompany the band.
Ottoman Slap sprung from the Capetonian creative woodwork in late 2012. We have played Rocking The Daisies for three years running as well as the Cape Town World Music Festival in 2014. We have been confirmed for the National Arts Festival in 2015. We do private events and weddings (including Nederburg’s Heritage Day event two years running) and we regularly perform at soirées and established music venues in Cape Town, such as Alexander Upstairs, Straight No Chaser, Waiting Room, Blah Blah Bar, Alma Cafe and Villa Pascal.
The group’s musical influences are, among others, Beirut, Balkan Beat Box, Yemen Blues, Avishai Cohen, Fanfare Ciocarlia, and A Hawk and a Hacksaw.
OTTOMAN SLAP IS
• Marissa Cuenoud van Minnen: accordion, percussion, dance •
Marissa forms the visual and choreographic backbone of Ottoman Slap. A dancer first and foremost, she plays accordion as well as percussion in Ottoman Slap. She is the director of Soma Fusion Bellydance Company, based in Cape Town. Her dance career has seen her travel extensively in Europe and parts of Africa to perform, including Nigeria (for the Egyptian pop icon Hakim), Switzerland (for Paléo Festival 2012), France, Italy and the UK. She has also been flown abroad to perform for private functions in Morocco and Seychelles. Her dream of performing dance with live music has come to fruition with Ottoman Slap.
• Simoné Chiara: lead vocals, guitar, percussion •
Simoné, the lead vocalist in Ottoman Slap, is heavily influenced by traditional singing styles, in particular flamenco cante, a form which she is currently studying through the Escuela de Carmen Amaya in Madrid. She is fluent in Spanish and has contributed lyrics and vocal arrangements to many of our original songs. She also plays the guitar, castanets and frame drum in Ottoman Slap.
• James van Minnen: mandolin, percussion, hybrid drum kit •
James is an accomplished percussionist and drummer. In Ottoman Slap, he plays drums, Middle Eastern percussion and the odd flourish of mandolin. Playing professionally since 2000, James has played in various other musical projects in Africa, Europe and Japan, including Mean Black Mamba, Andrew James & The Steady Tiger, Hot Water and Sirena Riley. Ottoman Slap is at the heart of James’ creative passion, and to date, is where he has enjoyed the most opportunities as composer and co-director.
• Raoul Spiegel: saxophone, hulusi, saw •
Raoul’s saxophone lines form the deeper, darker half of what has become a playfully soulful two-part horn section. His primary instrument is the alto sax, but he also performs on flute, xaphoon, hulusi, backup vocals and musical saw. Many of Ottoman Slap’s original songs grew out of melodies and forms springing from Raoul’s creative inner world and his lifelong love of ancient folk music. His background is a combination of Western classical and Jewish klezmer – he previously performed with the klezmer/gypsy band Pandori – as well as diverse pop influences. He loves to seek the familiar within the obscure.
• Callan Wolff: double bass •
Callan is an experienced multi-instrumentalist with a distinct taste for the quirky and unusual, always open to anything new he can aurally chew. Callan is versatile in many styles and has performed with other groups such as (Cardigan Buzz, Fly Paper Jet, Scarlet Host and Pravda). In Ottoman Slap he features on Bertha, the double bass (and bells and whistles). He is doing his Masters at the School of Life, majoring in the underlying physics behind the fusion of sub-melodies and solid grooves.
• Doug Armstrong: trumpet •
Doug is a composer, producer, educator and multi-instrumentalist. During his years of activity on the Cape Town music scene and beyond he has performed and composed in a variety of music styles – jazz, hip hop, pop, rock, reggae, country AND western! He recently joined Ottoman Slap on the trumpet, thereby establishing the band’s distinctive sounding ‘horing seksie’. Doug is also producing the band’s forthcoming album.