Samba Sene and Diwan offer an ingenious synthesis of afrobeat grooves, ska and funk, suffused with ‘Senegalese soul’. This international collection of musicians delivered an exuberant, dynamic and colourful evening: a blistering Tequila sunrise of a gig.
The lead singer, Samba Sene, injected a syringeful of energy and winning enthusiasm into his performance, which never waned and in fact only seemed to steamroll ahead as the evening progressed. He had a soaring, authoritative and highly individual voice, but was also able to produce some fantastic harmonies with his guitarist. Within the rest of the band, a xylophone was used to great effect, there was a very accomplished saxophonist and a guitarist who produced impossible sounds on his acoustic guitar. More performers joined the stage for certain numbers, including a proficient djembe player, and a phenomenally good salsa dancer.
This was not just background music played in the corner of the bar: it completely took over the place. By the end of the evening the band had most of the customers on their feet, drawn out by the irresistible dance beats. Samba Sene demonstrated his masterful control over the audience by oscillating between different tempos, as much at home in soulful Senegalese singing as in the fast paced afrobeats. This is an evening of impressive stamina, infectious exuberance and incredible dynamism. Not to be missed.