Monday, 25 May 2009

Mucha Musica!

Another weekend rolls by and another bunch of excellent live shows. This is one aspect of living in Spain (and Madrid in particular) that is especially attractive. If World Music isn't your thing, then perhaps you wouldn't feel as blessed as we do, but we love global grooves and WOMAD Caceres, Planeta Madrid and now Africa Vive have showered us in riches.

We picked up flyers for Africa Vive while in Caceres, but it wasn't until I spotted the words "entrada gratuito" in tiny writing at the bottom that we decided we had to go. Stingy? Perhaps. I prefer "thrifty".The show was held at the main university on huge stages, built side-by-side so one act began even as the applause was dying down for the previous artist, with no gaps for set-ups and sound checks in the middle.
When we arrived, with Pueblo Ingles Anglo chum Lynne and another fresh Anglo, Barbara in tow, the first thing we saw was the scrum around a stall giving out free T-shirts. The second thing we saw was our former classmate from Spanish lessons, Aboubacar, a Senegalese who's currently studying at the university. Big hugs all round, introductions to his cousin and some Spanish friends, beers bought and we all went to watch the first act.Bassekou Kouyate, a virtuoso n'goni player (African guitar) from Mali was in full flow, head to toe in flowing, tie-dyed robes and grooving with his band like The Shadows on speed. Superb stuff, and Theo's and my favourite of the night.He was followed by Smod, another Malian group who specialise in catchy acoustic pop and endearing three-part harmonies. Daara J, a riotous hip hop act from Senegal were up next and Aboubacar was almost beside himself as the familiar beats and raps from home poured forth. They had loads of energy and were tonnes of fun.
Next up, the home-grown Spanish act, Ojos de Brujo, whose breathless flamenco fusion was a massive hit with the crowd (as you'd expect!), with North African influences in some of the tunes probably giving them qualification for the event, as well as their crowd-pulling ability. The best moment was when Daara J joined them on stage for a fantastic flamenco/African hip-hop mash-up.

By that time, the music had been playing without a break for more than two hours and, enjoyable though it was, we were all starting to get a little footsore. We sacrificed the last act in favour of the trudge back to the Metro and some chill time.

By the way, honesty compells me to point out that after the unpardonably patronising tone of my "sizzler" blog post, the hot weather broke with a terrific storm on Friday night and Saturday was cool and rainy. At times, it almost felt like Glastonbury at Africa Vive, as passing showers of rain continued to top up the many puddles. Mind you, only one of them was heavy enough to warrant a mass opening of umbrellas. And at least we didn't have to squelch our way back to a muddy tent.

No comments:

Post a Comment