Despite the small crowd at Lula Lounge, the nerves and excitement of the night were obvious. From 8-year-old Annabelle belting out The Greatest Love to Ras Isreals Rootlife sound, the evening had its ups and downs. With a little time and development, the talent in this line up will make us all proud.
Two highlights of the night were Lungiles spoken word, inspired by time spent in Alabama and using the mixed sounds of Zulu dialect and English, and the exciting, fresh footwork of Selam and Teddy. Both of these acts were entertaining and each brought together a different world of African tradition with new western experiences. In their individual ways, they each told stories and the westerness they reflected back to us in their mirrors made some of us see ourselves in a new light.
Ras Isreal, who recently arrived from Ghana, performed with his newly formed band. This was their first show, and it was a good one. Introducing me to the highlife and rootslife sound, I found their music an interesting mix of reggae, ska and rock. The band backed Ras up with good guitar work and strong backup singing. "Rasta man" with Ras ska was my favourite song. In contrast, his more mellow songs sounded very sad.
Ateaseours RnB sounds touched with Rap, Ajesquare and Banzy from Nigeria with their mellow love songs, and Phayabrands Rapping rounded out the night.