I have just had one of my most stressful weeks at work, by contrast I have seen three top-notch shows at the same time.
Tonight's show topped them all. The Putumayo music label has sponsored a tour to promote their 'Acoustic Africa' compilation CD. The musicians are Vusi Mahlasela (South Africa), Habib Koite (Mali), and Dobet Gnahore (Ivory Coast). They are backed by a rotating crew of a eight excellent musicans. The show had a pretty basic flow, each came out and did a single song; thereafter they played all together or in pairs. They were all incredibly engaging, fantastic singers, and dancers. In this area Dobet was phenomenal. There was a tremendous chemistry and played together beautifully. And they 'played' together... a couple times Vusi and/or Habib pursued Dobet, appealed for her affections. They had me laughing to the point of crying when they tried to match her dancing.
I was ready to be impressed by Habib Koite and Vusi Mahlasela, but I knew nothing of Dobe Gnahore. They all floored me. Vusi, the elder of the bunch and who was part of the South African struggle against Apartheid, described them as three Mountains of Africa who had never met before. Oh such a meeting...
The 'Acoustic Africa' CD is just another of Putumayo's compilations; most of Putumayo's disks are compilations and all are great. It includes these three, doing their own stuff. I hope a CD or DVD of these three together comes out of this tour. There was something special here. And I think we had enough of an african contingent to really get the crowd going despite the auditorium seating. It took a little while for the crowd to warm up, but the africans lead us on. They were up and dancing, 'spraying' money at the musicians. A bunch ended up on stage, one guy was almost able to keep up with Dobet.