The Verse’s Csenge Krokovay reviews African Night Fever & Zaza Music: Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo at Brighton’s Komedia, Tuesday 30th May 2017
When you can’t go to Africa, Africa comes to Brighton. Komedia hosted African Night Fever & Zaza Music on the 30th of May, featuring Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo.
The original band, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, was founded by bandleader Malome Clement in the coastal town of Cotonou, and proudly remains the oldest active orchestra in Africa. They have provided Afro-beats world-wide since 1966, and their music is heavily infused with voodoo and ancient rhythms, influenced by the combination of Latin and African-American sounds.
As soon as we stepped through the doors of Komedia, we felt like we are in the African night air; loud music stroked our ears, and we were ready to dance. The basement was filled with music lovers, and everyone was happily chatting. All we needed was to find a spot where we could settle and wait for the orchestra. When they arrived, in their colourful red clothes adorned with white flowers and big smiles on their faces, they had already stolen our hearts. The stage was suddenly filled to the brim with performers. The ten African men comfortably occupied their spots and got ready to play.
The night was magical, projecting images of summer into our minds and making us feel like we were dancing around a bonfire. The band’s rising energy lifted us all up, with soft guitars, pulsing bass, organs and horns playing different elements that made everyone naturally come together.
Songs were also played from the 2016 new album, Madjafalao, which is full of fast beats and smoky jazz funk. The song Africa Lonlon touched our hearts with its romantic sound, and the melody of Ouesse created a more ritualistic vibe. The orchestra worked together very-well, enjoying their own music just as much as the audience did. The passion that Orchestre Poly-Rythmo showed for their music was contagious. We grabbed a CD at the end of the night and continued listening to Poly-Rythmo at home. It was an unforgettable experience!
Featured photo courtesy of Komedia Press