It’s 24th February at Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, situated in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Rich Mix is a beautiful venue, small and intimate.  Centrally located within the heart of the community, just being in it I could feel its character. Today, it plays host to two multi-cultural bands; Nelson And Friends and Jally Kebba Susso & Manding Sabu.

Nelson And Friends

Introducing their EP Ana Ndi Angambo – The kids are mine too.  Mozambican music displaying influences from Portugal and North America.

Afro-fusion, Afro-funk and Calypso, cheerful and optimistic are the sounds, which invites the listener to dance, embracing the joyous sounds which emulate.  Nelson captivated his audience with not only his impressive, expressive dance moves but also on the Timbila, providing its rich earthy tones assimilated with the sounds of jazz.

Encouraging positive vibes with their upbeat and uplifting sounds.  Engrained within the albums seven tracks, is the message of peace and togetherness.  The stand out tracks for for me being: Zimi Wangu (my spirit) and Ngila Kano Yabwuaga (stories of grandma).

Jally Kebba Susso & Manding Sabu

The album, Banjul-London. Aptly named, gives a nod in appreciation to the two cities that nurtured and harnessed his musical talents. Within Banjul-London, Jally has gone on to explore even further with sounds of Ska, Jazz and Rock, Afro-funk and Afro-fusion.

Banjul-London transcends Malaye Warr in a tremendous fashion.  The tone of this album is more uplifting, creating a positive vibe, which is consistently evident from start to finish.  Watching Jally & Manding Sabu perform is almost like being privy to a private party, as the passion amongst themselves is so very infectious, it just reaches out and warms “the cockles” of each and every listener.

The vocals of Jally has matured since the making of Malaye Warr and are beautifully complimented by Kyazi Lugangira on backing vocals.  There are so many great tracks to chose from but for me the stand out one’s being Rastaman and Ajama.  As with all his shows every band member is given a time to shine, from the superb Jimmy Hendricks style ‘licks’ from Jon Speedy to the sublime Mamadou Sarr on percussion and providing the ‘heartbeat’ to them all is Juba Weltzer.

This night was a profoundly enjoyable, from start to finish.  Both bands give a stand out performance.  Both bands preformed ‘in their truth’, which made watching them all the more captivating, because it made you feel.  It is a shame to say that this is a musical background little explored by many.  You can catch Jally Kebba Susso & Manding Sabu as they go on to play in: Bath Sussex Oxford.

by Natasha Grey