What a line up! Amadou & Mariam, Sola Akingbolá, Daara J Family, Baaba Maal, Souad Massi, Oumou Sangare, Rachid Taha, Bassekou Kouyaté, Toumani Diabaté
It kicked off with Sola Akingbolá (Jamiroquai percussionist). Okay, it did need something noisy to start off the evening and he did his very best to get the crowd going. Not quite my cup of tea however and considering how many artists were lined up for the evening, I feel that he was on stage for a long time. He made way for Muntu Valdo who sang, sadly, only a couple of songs… so poetic, so captivating… (there’s a great biography of Muntu Valdo on MySpace as well as a few live clips). I was holding my breath… and I don’t think I was the only one. And if you’re not busy on 16 November, I urge you to make your way to the Barbican’s London Jazz Festival Free stage at 18:00 as it looks like Muntu Valdo will be making an appearance. I’ll be there!
Daara J Family literally bounced on stage and got the crowd singing, dancing and… bouncing! The Senegalese Hip Hop band really brought a smile to my face, they have so much energy and they’re just such fun. I can’t say that I’m into rap but that’s the second time I’ve seen them now and they have a lot to say!
Amadou and Mariam were the last band to come on before the interval. I was so looking forward to them but I can’t quite put my finger on it; it just didn’t work for me. Quite tame. Damon Albarn joined Mariam for a song. Maybe it was the sound; I don’t know… slightly disappointing anyway.
I had to leave then, due to personal reasons.
My feelings up to that point were mixed and from a few people I caught up with a few days after the show, I don’t think I’m the only one thinking this. It seems that the show was thrown together a bit and may be the artists didn’t have time to rehearse properly. Still… the line up was fantastic and we want more events like this!