Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate at the Jazz Cafe

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Last July, Milly introduced me to Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate and since then, I have been harbouring a love for the “African hip hop fusion duo” (as I kept describing them to my friends… Much to their confusion). It was pretty much love at first listen and that day in the studio almost a year ago was spent listening to their music, writing this blog and crushing over Sekou’s beautiful smile.

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So, you can imagine my excitement when this popped up in my inbox – after a year of silence from the duo’s mailing list since I signed up…

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On April 25th, two friends and I headed to the Jazz Cafe, to see the set that I had been pining after for a year (which I told Joe Driscoll when I met him afterwards like a very sad groupie). The venue just off the Camden Eye, famous for its Jazz, Soul, Funk, World, Dance and Hip Hop acts, seemed like the perfect setting for Joe & Sekou, whose music doesn’t subscribe to any one genre.

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They played most of the songs of their debut album together, Faya. Although a fantastic album that beautifully demonstrates how seamlessly traditional African instruments can be interwoven with more contemporary genres, it is when Sekou is on the kora and Joe is on the guitar live that the extraordinary ingenuity and excitement of their music can be fully appreciated. For instance, the instrumental in Ghetto Mary saw Joe and Sekou jamming together with such “symbiosis” (to use the word of Joe, who spoke with some depth about their songs in short interludes) that the unity of the two musicians truly translated into their music.

(apologies for my terrible video, and caption. It was made on Snapchat…)

Although small, the Jazz Cafe was packed and the fans were dancing away and singing back the lyrics of New York, Wonamati and Faya, which ended the show. They then came back on for an encore and sang a new song, not from their album – very glad to hear they are making even more music together!

 

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