ARTYFACTS: Audience Kan dance to Kanda - Day 1

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Audience Kan dance to Kanda - Day 1

African musicians are a fun bunch and often dance their way through their performance. Saida Kanda and Risenga Makondo did exactly that. They grinned, laughed, wise-cracked, danced and engaged with the audience for the entire performance. At one point Risenga leapt out and kissed the woman next to me in the front row.

Saidi was in full Tanzanian dress stamping his bare feet into the floor, while Risenga Makondo was rather curiously clad in white shirt, pin stripped trousers and braces (he introduced everyone as the 'real natives' of Brighton, having lived here for years). Kanda is a real performer; his eyes wide open, hips swaying, feet stamping, guitar playing and singing are mesmerising. This is exactly how African music should be seen, in a small venue, close to the performers on a sunny day.

Guitars (one with a tin can as a sound-box), finger pianos, flute, African violin and drums all featured. They had a tough job getting an English audience to sing, clap, stand up and dance, but they persevered, and it worked. We were all on our feet at the end singing and dancing away.

Great start to the festival. A full-house full of good cheer!


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