Most people’s only flirtation with music that has the influence of Africa is a Paul Simon album from the mid-eighties and memories of diamonds stuck to shoe soles. Whilst Simon’s foray into this region was hugely popular, the legacy that I had hoped it would produce has not entirely transpired.
Afrobeat has changed the perception of African music. Despite being around for many years, it has only been recently that Fela Kuti’s 70s invention has permeated the iPods of the masses. The fusion of jazz, dance and funk with traditional African rhythms has made the genre more familiar for the Western ear and scope of dance moves, without losing the essential essence of the continent.
The Afriganza festival at the Blind Tiger features at least 4 acts each night, as well as drumming classes, films on Africa and its music. At just £20 for a 4 day pass (which includes an album download), it is incredible value. Saturday night sees the return of London based Afrobeat group Bronzehead who rocked the Blind Tiger a few weeks back and who feature a major stage presence, fielding between 10-12 members for each show-they were packed on the stage fairly precariously last time (also featuring much butt shaking and a man playing sax on a table…bonus)
If you’ve not experienced the big sound, fervour, vibrancy and technical skill of African music (and its offshoots) then the Afriganza festival is the ideal event to right that wrong.