You write the reviews: Daby Toure, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

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The Independent Culture

The Gateway music festival in Kendal goes from strength to strength with another batch of high-profile acts being persuaded to turn off the M6 at Junction 36 to enjoy the relaxed ambience afforded by this superb venue. Last year, Azymuth, the Brazilian samba funksters, were on the bill, which also featured Salsa Celtica, the 11-piece world-music fusion band from Edinburgh. This year's line-up is just as interesting and diverse, with appearances due later this month by Martin Simpson and Justin Adams.

The Afro-pop musician Daby Touré, who grew up on the Mauritania/Senegal border, has been on the world scene for a few years now, and was first championed by Peter Gabriel, who gave him a support slot on his European tour in 2006. But it was his appearance at 2004's Womad that cemented his reputation: a late substitute, he stole the show at the rain-sodden event with a blistering solo acoustic set.

For this one-off gig, Touré was ably assisted on drums and bass, and built his set predominantly around his 2007 album, Stereo Spirit. After a gentle acoustic opening, he continued with the a cappella-style "Kebaluso", the first track on the album. He threatened to leave if he didn't get some audience participation, and younger fans entered naturally into the swing of things, while us maturer participants bopped until we dropped, fervently trying to remember the last concert that had us jigging in such a joyous and uninhibited way. For me, it was probably the Sensational Alex Harvey Band way back in the early 1980s, which goes to show what an amazingly engaging performer Touré is.

He was on stage for more than 90 minutes, and developed his songs with carefully rehearsed yet spontaneous guitar layering, interspersed with funky bass lines and mixing-desk effects that helped to showcase the versatility of his voice.

He came across as a very decent guy, and worked hard to explain his songs, despite being overly critical of his linguistic abilities. My partner had first- hand experience of his pleasant demeanour when she met him relaxing with his entourage before the concert began and asked him for his autograph. He was courteous and attentive, and quite thrilled that she had a sound knowledge of his music. What a nice fellow and an amazing performer. Well done to the Brewery Arts Centre for getting him to perform in Kendal.

Martin Wheater, Mortgage manager, Cumbria

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