Roberto Fonseca + Ayana @ Birmingham Town Hall – 1st April 2012

April 1st was my first gig review for Birmingham Live. I would like to give my thanks to Town Hall and Lyle, Steve from BL and the photographer.

I think you can tell a good musician by their ability to perform in a venue with under half its capacity there and by the end of their set the applause makes it sound like the venue was over sold 5 times.

This was the case at Town Hall last nigh – a poor turn out considering the calibre of musicians that were on.

Ayanna opened the show, an elegantly dressed female, with a cello and a cow bell. Her music was simple, graceful and effective. She definitely had the crowd on her side and you could certainly feel the sharp focus of the audience. Every move of her hands created sound. She was like an angel with an harp. Sensual vocals and great playing, even with a cow bell in the Town Hall!

If this was a sign of what was to come with the main act, we were in for a treat.

“I would like to introduce Roberto Fonseca” said the compere. That was the only orthodox happening that went on.

On his last performance in Birmingham, Fonseca gave us a rich taste of Cuban music inspired by legendary Ruben Gonzalez. Magical with the piano. Fast forward a year later and he has brought back Cuban flavour but also inspired by a lot of postmodern and African music – A very diverse band of players from all around the world, synonymous with the city hosting them. Birmingham.

Pity there were not a lot of Brummies there to appreciate it. Fonseca had a strong chemistry with the audience that was present however. The music was a rollercoaster ride, not knowing what sound or genre was going to be played next, varying from Kora theme piano music to an organ electric guitar sound. There was even autotune which I have never liked  until I saw how, when used properly, it can be magical.

It was a great night. The only low point being the turn out to appreciate such fantastic musicians. But back to my point made earlier, when the performance came to a close,  the applause sounded as if it was a sell-out crowd. Roberto & Co had a job to entertain and they certainly did.

Review – Chadwick Jackson
Photos – Katja Ogrin

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