Unfortunately only a sparse crowd came to Nexus last night to hear Ziggy Diagne and his four piece ensemble play his high energy fusion of African, Salsa and other Latin rhythms. The setting was also not helped by a late start due to Ziggy et al losing their way, drums tumbling over during songs and musicians tripping over cords on stage. However, the second half was worth the wait.

Then Senegalese, Ziggy, (who, in a white jump suit adorned with small flags and with his hair in a bun on the top of his head looked like a cross between Whoopi Goldberg and Buzz Aldrin), got into his stride with brilliant control of his formidable kora that seemed to inject boundless hand energy into his two drummers, Funkalleros and Dunumbra. The interplay between them was spellbinding as the reggae funk, rap and jazz beat grew in intensity, the groovy M’balah rhythms, unique to Senegal, roaring through.

Before moving to WA in 2000, Diagne played and toured internationally for ten years in the Baaba Maal band as a drummer, dancer and choreographer. He has also performed on stage with the likes of Carlos Santana and Youssou N’Dour and has recorded with Assane Thiam (regarded by many as the world’s best talking drum player.)

Before a small, mostly middle aged audience, getting reciprocated energy from the dance floor before him was always going to be a struggle. However, one could imagine a WOMAD crowd going absolutely silly at the height of a performance (with good gunja only adding to the tsunami of energy and power and chills of ecstasy that would ripple through such an audience.)

Ziggy and friends deserved more support than they got last night but it was a richly rewarding experience nonetheless.

Kryztoff Rating  4K