Salisbury Secret Garden – Salisbury Institute, Sat 20 Feb
Damushi Ensemble has members who are currently residents in Australia as well as from Ghana, playing in the traditional African style, featuring percussion and voice, ably assisted by guitar, keys and bass. The set started with a cover song, something of an old hit, mellow, but performed with a laid back African style that set a gentle mood, before taking a decidedly revved up African turn. So much so that we were treated to a couple of the percussionists and singers performing some great impromptu dancing centre stage.
While locally based Dadani is the Ensemble leader, the group features Ghana’s only female drummer (I think this means recognised Master Drummer, which involves a long and complicated apprenticeship process and mastery of a lot of different percussion instruments). The whole band kept up a great foundation of rhythm for the set, as well as decorating it with great variation, at times letting the variations carry us away before returning to the foundation. Though the crowd was modest, not long into the set there were dancers in the audience, in the aisles, to the sides including several children who eventually persuaded parents to join in.
Big smiles, infectious rhythms, a great sense of fun (except for the guitarist who seemed particularly annoyed when his pick-up seemed to fail and he needed to be mic’d up). Here is a great experience of culture and, although I’m no drummer, it is good to see such a wide range of traditional percussion up close.
Their next show is a longer performance at The Gov and, with an appreciative crowd revving them up, I have no doubt that Damushi Ensemble would totally go off on the stage.
Damushi Ensemble continues at The Gov from 8.30pm on Fri 26 Feb.
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