PROM 38: Danish NRSO/Dausgaard <br></br> Prom 39: Ulster Orchestra/Fischer <br></br> Prom 40: Baaba Maal With Daande Lenol, Royal Albert Hall, London ***/***/**

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The Independent Culture

Four numbers in, the first drummer arrived and the main man got up, swished his purple-patterned robe, and paced around, rhythms still laid-back but steadily gaining intensity. The voice, with its high range, cutting power and hints of nasal timbre, flowed in intricate, fluent cross-rhythms.

With the sixth number, lift-off began. Extra percussionists struck a groove. Two long numbers got the dance movements going, and Baaba Maal tried a first big whirl. A fast call-and-response session peaked with him whizzing off stage, and suddenly there were 12 drummers, covering the arrival of the full electric Daande Lenol band.

Baaba Maal was back in black and white stripes, and an hour of partying unfolded. Alongside two maximum-octane dancers, the boss jumped and leapt and crouched. Sax and trumpet wandered on, the rhythms turned Cuban, and the dancers did interesting things with six-foot pestles and mortars. Still there was vigour in store for two big finishes. The whole hall was up doing exaggerated dancing as only the English can.

None of the weekend's earlier Proms reached this level. The Ulster Orchestra and Thierry Fischer earlier that evening brought brazenness to Beethoven's Fifth, and more vigour than subtlety to Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

On Friday, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra premiered a BBC-Danish commission, The Little Mermaid by Bent Sørensen. Its narrow expressive range and pallid colours became monotonous, and Lars Vogt's performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto, with breathtaking exchanges between solo and orchestra, swept it aside.

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