Sunday, 23 June 2013


According to the Oxford Dictionary...diverse means various, sundry, miscellaneous, mixed, dissimilar... 
When terrorists struck Woolwich, on May 22nd, 2013, one of their sick aims was to create chaos and make different races and Londoners bicker and fight and hate. London is one of those few places on earth where diversity is the order of the day. Diverse food, diverse cultures, 300 languages spoken here, etc.

That is exactly what Global Fusion Music and Arts is all about. Diversity, variance and divergence. Yes indeed,  GFMA  did promote a diversity night of music on Thursday 20th June, 2013.

Amongst the acts were Tamil Dancers from Sri Lanka, Jewish Jazz band (headlined) and South African Jazz pianist, Mervyn Africa...whose style and tones are beyond words. You had to be there to experience it. But if you could  not. Try to think of Keith Jarett and Abdullah Ibrahim...but don't stop yet.
Mervyn Africa deserves a smile afterwards...he made us happy.

What I specifically liked about Mervyn's set was the "diverse" (that word again) chops, from fast and wild  almost insane and abstract to sudden slow calculated bluesy notes,  to a typical Mbaqanga like groove. He allowed space but also scattered his lines to chaotic melodies and held you spellbound. 
That is why music is such a good mirror of identity and cultures. Listening to Mervyn Africa makes you think you are about to hear a repetition of Keith Jarret, then no, it is  Johannesburg and Soweto, perhaps Abdullah Ibrahim; then you soon realise these are mere  references. He has his own punctuation, his own stops, tinctures and colours. Fantastic signature. I specifically loved this tune he dedicated to the legendary Dudu Pukwana...another South African great who passed away in 1990:

Mission accomplished. Time to reflect before heading off. Here the star stands with one of GFMA volunteers, Frances Cumming...
Louisa Le Marchand who hosted the evening told us Mervyn has a new CD and an expected tour with his band. Watch this space!

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