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Osibisa gig review, St. Albans 2004-04-08

Osibisa singers 2 ] Osibisa trumpet, sax, guitar | [ Teddy Osei on flute |

Osibisa: criss-cross rhythms which explode with happiness!
We gonna start this happy vibe right from the root,
and the root is early one morning in the heart of Africa...

It's not every day your heroes come to play in town, and after a series of disbelieving emails, it transpired that legendary AfroRockers Osibisa were indeed coming to grace the same stage of The Horn which I myself have appeared on. St. Albans had never seen anything like this, and the house was packed to the gills when Teddy Osei and friends walked on stage. They launched into 'The Dawn' from their debut album and showed that they were still On The Good Foot after thirty years. The line-up featured the immensely talented Nii Oki playing djembe, kpanlogo and two goumbe drums, original band member Sol Amarfio on drumkit looking (and swinging) like a venerable jazz master, a trumpeter/vocalist/shekere, lead guitarist/vocalist/shekere, rhythm guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and the group's founder Teddy Osei on flute, soprano sax, vocals, cowbell and master drums.

[ Osibisa singers at The Horn | Osibisa singers 3 | Osibisa singers 4 ]

Come with me
To The Promised Land
We can be happy and free

I made it quite near to the front in order to take these photos, but the low light levels and lack of tripod or flash made hand-held images tricky, especially when the place was so packed I could hardly move my arms! Sadly I was unable to get any shots of the drums as people's heads blocked the view. They sure sounded cool though, with Teddy playing a pair of atumpan drums at the front to complement Nii's onslaught and the phat beats laid down from the drumkit. The trumpeter and lead guitarist also doubled on shekere in the really frantic percussion jams which lifted the roof, and inspired me deeply; it is good to hear djembe being played with such good tone and dexterity! Many classics followed ('Ayiko Bia', 'Woyaya', 'Ki Le Le', 'Sunshine Day'), together with newer songs, and lots of audience involvement in the chants and clapping, elevating the joyous vibe and spreading those wonderful smiles :-)

Osibisa trumpeter ] Teddy Osei | [ Teddy and Osibisa drummer at The Horn |

We will get there
Heaven knows how we will get there
We know we will

They left the stage with the audience crying for more, but thankfully returned for two more songs, leaving us elated at midnight.

We give you our treasure. Be happy!

© copyright Malcolm Smith 2004-04-09 - last updated 2006-06-25 - links verified 2006-06-25