“Barka”: a sea voyage with the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra

“Barka: A Sea Voyage with the Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra


Presented under the ready-made big top of TOHU as part of the Montreal Completely Circus Festival, the multidisciplinary show “Barka” entertains and transports.

This bohemian cabaret, with nautical finery, offers a happy mix between musical concert and clownish art, where the story is told through Afro-Colombian percussion, Balkan melodies and Colombian cumbia. Although the circus acts are not prominent, some acts, such as Brittany Gee-Moore's smooth rope – who also donated two of the Cyr wheel acts – Alexie Maheu's Chinese pole and Nathan's juggling Biggs-Penton, were the most successful of the evening and drew the strongest reactions from the public.

Aboard the ship in which spectators are called upon to board and dance, everyone makes a a bit of everything. Circus artists dance there while musicians indulge in a little balancing act.

Designed by the Colombian duo Juan Sebastian Mejia and Carmen Ruiz, established in Montreal for twenty years, this playful show appeals to hope and freedom, but also to teamwork. Everything is carried by an orchestra (brass, woodwinds, violin and accordion), dance and a few acrobats who perform over the course of the journey, in a completely crazy universe.

However, the boat sometimes seemed to take on water, with a few lengths here and there and some less well executed numbers. Between sequences, the animations are sometimes redundant, sometimes chaotic, but the festive tunes played by the house band have certainly made up for it. The good mood of the musicians was contagious from start to finish and the audience seemed greatly amused, dancing on the end of their chairs, clapping their hands and even getting up to go dancing in the aisle.

The festive nave, which has managed to get to its destination, is all in all surprising and ideal for ending a completely circus evening.

“Barka” is presented under the big top of TOHU until to July 17. For more info: montrealcompletementcirque.com.