African Soul Rebels, Brighton Dome, Brighton


The African Soul Rebels package enters its fourth year, with the king of Afro-beat, the Golden Voice of Africa, and a young lion from Senegal each packing hour-long sets into what must be one of the best-value concert tours around.

The first night of an 11-date UK tour was at Brighton's Dome, and began with the Senegalese rapper Awadi, followed by a glorious acoustic performance from Salif Keita, and, for the great finale, Afro-beat jazz from the 70-year-old Tony Allen and his band.

Awadi, the young rapper from Senegal, is intent on inspiring a new generation of Africans to reappropriate their history, and his Positive Black Soul band and Presidents D'Afrique project have captured the imagination with their focus on the "fathers of African independence" of the Fifties and Sixties.

He does the usual hip-hop things – arms in the air; call-and-response routines with the crowd. The clichés of US rap may all be bling, bitches and bullets, but Awadi's between-song raps in English provide the handles to get a grip on the matter of his music. "We can't accept it any more," he says of the world's appetite for diamonds and oil. "Remember that other people are dying for your luxury."

Keita begins alone, sat in the centre of the stage with his semi-acoustic guitar threading an embroidery of delicate guitar lines around that amazing golden voice. One of Africa's greatest singers and one of its first major international stars, his performance, like his last two albums, is an all-acoustic affair.

The opening "Folou" and "Tassi" are exquisite, commanding the audience's attention from the off. On "Siro", he switches to a handsome black semi-acoustic, and is joined by a brilliant young ngoni player, Makim Toumkara, and halfway through the following "Laban" his all-acoustic Malian band of kora, calabash and congas appears. Keita has plans to record with this superb band in the autumn, and after the closing "Touyami" and "Ahmed Baba", rooted in Keita's voice and guitar but flushed with some superb calabash and ngoni, it's only the late-running and 11.30pm curfew that prevents a loudly demanded encore.

Allen used to play six-hour sets with Fela Kuti in the Seventies and Eighties, so the closing hour's set of five songs must barely break sweat on the great man's brow. His six-piece band is centred on bass and keyboards for some epic, propulsive Afro-jazz, an ensemble sound powered by Allen and reminiscent of the Afrocentric pulses of Miles Davis's mid-Seventies band.

The opening number's 10 minutes of ecstatic funk brings the audience to its feet. With his bassist locked in tight, standing in front of Allen's kit and transmitting the bass pulse to the rest of the band, and the guitarist chopping out an irresistibly funky rhythm, the ensemble takes off into some of the finest dance music you're likely to hear.

Touring to 26 February (

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May


Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama


Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before