Mary Ann Kennedy introduced the evening's events at this BBC Radio 3 World Music Award winners concert at the Proms, and Cape Verde's Mayra Andrade began the evening with her band of Brazilian players, including the tireless and subtle percussion of Ze Luis Nascimento, the guitar of Nelson Ferreira, and the lithe acoustic bass of Ricardo Feijao. The Newcomer Award winner opened with "Dimokransa", the wash of guitars and lilting island rhythms propelling an inviting melody; the following "Dispidida" allowed Andrade to open up the vocal pipes. The Royal Albert Hall's warm acoustics fit her voice like a glove.
Sons de la Frontera, the flamenco group from southern Spain, took us to the first interval, singer Moi de Moró*opening with a powerful solo bulería. Their music's marriage of north African with Mediterranean and Caribbean forces saw group founder Raúl Rodriguez duelling and weaving on the double-stringed Cuban tres guitar with guitarist Paco de Amparo. But it was the show-stopping flamenco dance of Pepe Torres that made "Solea de Pepe" the highlight of their set, the hand dancers slowly heating the music to the point where Torres stepped to the square of shiny floor brought to the stage with them, and executed a remarkable performance.
One can't help feeling that China's Sa Dingding wears the emperor's new clothes. They look splendid on her – we had three big costume changes across five songs, along with kung fu dancers with fans and flags, and touches of Chinese flute and violin fluttering and merging into the trip-hoppy electronica that underpins her singing. It was dramatic, with Madonna-style production values, but I can't help feeling I've heard it all before, perhaps in the lobby of a Hong Kong hotel. Serious comparisons with Björk – just because she also dresses up – do not stand scrutiny. She does a speech about coming from the grasslands and music being freedom, but it sounds like sentiments she wants us to hear rather than anything embedded in actuality.
The final third was devoted to West Africa and the blues, with Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara, as well as Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, delivering sensational sets. Adams' Gibson laid down the chugging armatures of rhythm, with Camara's rich vocals and fluid riti swimming around them in eddies of inspired invention. Winners of the a BBC Award for World Music for best album, Ngoni Ba are the best rock'n'roll band in the world. With four ngoni weaving in and out with the crack and boom of the calabash, hand percussion and the gorgeous honeyed voice of Amy Sacko, tonight's concert closers were magnificent.
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