A certain someone claims they had to “insist” that we went to this gig…
Leaving such claims aside, I have to say this was one of the best gigs I’ve been to this year (OK so I’ve probably already said that within the last year but you gotta admit, Africans definitely know how to party!!).
The setting was the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank. Not the first place you’d think to have a party, but the acoustics are bloody fantastic. The warm up act for the most wonderful Angelique Kidjo, was Ibeyi, very talented twins, with their sweet harmonies and smooth rhythms.
A short break after Ibeyi’s set, queen of everything, Angelique, made her entrance to the cheers and delight of a very appreciative audience. It wasn’t long before she’d removed her head dress, and was thrilling us with the blur of her wonderfully high energy dancing!
Backed by her fantastic band, the show progressed through standards like Pata Pata, – in tribute to Miriam Makeba, and the hauntingly sweet melody, Malaika, performed with just Angelique and her extremely talented guitarist (god that song stirs up my emotions).
In came the choir… to back her on a few songs and swell the numbers on the stage. Fantastic voices. The mutual respect / love between the choir and Angelique was very obvious.
As well as the fun and dancing, Angelique had some very wise words to say about the importance of educating girls, and talk a bit about her great foundation, Batonga. Bring on that woman positive power!
The grand, almost-finale, was a party on the stage as the audience was invited up to dance (- if only I hadn’t been up in the balcony… And yes I did seriously consider body surfing from our box, before realising in the nick of time that I’d probably only hurt myself…).
The percussionist was absolutely awesome on the talking drum, as members of the audience vied for his attention, shaking their thing at him, whilst engaging in frenzied licentious dancing – a joy to watch. Meanwhile, Angelique in the midst of the throng, generously danced with others who’d made it onto the stage. It was all I could do to contain meself!
So, after a great night beyond my wildest imaginings I’m off to get Angelique’s latest album, Eve.