If you missed the closing concert for Hungarian Cultural Week last Friday, you should consider crying yourself to sleep for the next week. With a kaleidoscope of Ghana and Hungary’s top talent framed by a psychedelic trip of background visuals conceived by LaLuz Visuals, the concert at Alliance Française was a slammin’ smokeshow of groovy virtuosity.
The idiosyncratic group from Budapest, Zuboly, kicked off the evening with a wild mix of sounds and instruments. You might call it funky psych-folk-hop, if one were to use English to describe it. Perhaps there are more appropriate Hungarian words to explain the cocktail of water-floatie bagpipe, fiddle, kazoo-like windstrument topped with beatboxing. Just when you think it couldn’t get much zanier, the eminent, barefooted Kubolor, Wanlov steps on stage in his characteristic construction helmet and wrap skirt, followed by Stevo Atambire and his kologo.
Alongside Nii Quaye of Musical Lunatics, Sena Dagadu switched it up with some soft, soulful ballads, oiling the crowd before her and her killer Hungarian band amped up the stage with hard-hitting, soul-spired rock grooves. Sena commanded the attention of the venue with her powerhouse of a voice and husky, rich lyrics. The band, masters of keyboard, drums, bass, trumpet and trombone, brought the songs to life with jazzy blends underscored with reggae and dancehall vibrations.
Worlasi came forward to collaborate with Sena in a low-tone show of heartfelt blues. The young sensation’s throaty voice was caressed by reggae roots bathing in molasses.
Family was in the programme too, as the well-loved M3NSA and his old man Tumi Ansah zipped on stage for a xylophone-guitar-drum set of palm wine music.
It was RedRed, however, that tranced out the crowd in a sick twist of Ghanaian-Hungarian cultural beats that brought the people to their feet and their heads into the game. M3NSA’s vocals and the hypnotic instrumentals, backed by trip-art visuals, put the place into a dance trance. Totally funked out as M3NSA dropped lyrics like a jazzy rapster and producer ELO cranked out music like the machine he is, Alliance Française was taken on a free-wheeling, high energy ride.
As the crowd twisted, the stage took a nostalgic turn when Gyedu-Blay Ambolley brought his too-cool highlife lyrics to the front and wooed the place with his saxophone. The man has aged like wine and this was a full bottle of the Finest Funk. From the 70’s to 2017, Ambolley is legendary.
When Sena Dagadu and M3NSA graced the stage for a double crooning duo sesh, love turned up the beat. Sena then took over with her band to throw her musical prowess into the air and the hands in the house followed suit. Sena was something else. With a voice as smooth as velvet and rich as melted chocolate, the crowd fell under her spell and lusted for more. M3NSA likely gained a stadium full of potential marriage proposals from female admirers, and he earned every one.
That wasn’t all. How did an already diamond-edged concert step up its game? With VVIP mastering the mic’s, of course. The triple-faced group rocked on stage with the energy of a spacecraft launch and shot the show into space.
The Connection Concert threw out funky beats and jazzy vibes, and the collection of artists slicked the crowd with a sticky blues residue and tossed hip-hop flavoured feathers on them, leaving the audience as high as a flock of birds in flight. Overall, every artist held his or her place, amped up the world of music with their own unique, unprecedented talent, and LaLuz did a wicked job of turning the walls into a mushroom trip. *Standing ovation*
By: Dayna Mahannah (www.inittowingit.com)
Photos: Idris Solomon