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Lakuta - The Brunswick - 3rd June 2016

Lakuta - The Brunswick - 3rd June 2016

In the lead up to their album release in August, Lakuta have played a slew of shows in Brighton - Funk the Format, Spiegeltent, the Kemptown Carnival - all bigger and more open than this one, which was characterised by its intimacy as well as its musicianship.

Lakuta, formerly the Kalakuta Millionaires, are first and foremost, world-class musicians. Their music has its basis in traditional afrobeat, but is infused with Latin rhythms, as well as western funk and soul. The fluidity and complexity of their songs depends on the mastery of all the many players in the group, and their ability to keep track of devilish rhythm changes, as well as staying on top of myriad breakdowns - which they all did faultlessly. All this on top of the stamina required to finish freeform, solo-filled songs, up to ten minutes long, make Lakuta one of the most musically impressive bands on Brighton’s scene.

Despite its technicality, and the seriousness that must lie behind Cicely Taylor’s song-writing, the surface personality of their music remains carefree and upbeat. It has a jubilant and elated quality, and there’s no doubt that on a basic level it’s designed to be a deeply physical experience: many in the audience found that, no matter their age, staying in their seat was simply not an option. Underneath its sensuality, however, their music takes on another dimension through Siggi’s meaningful and uncompromising lyrics of protest, which cover women’s rights, the effects of colonialism, discrimination against homosexuals and more. As such, Lakuta can be enjoyed transiently as a band to dance to, or, with more engagement, as a group which demand and inspire reflection and perspective.

In Siggi Mwasote the band have a powerful and imposing, but also playful and charming, lead vocalist. Equipped with a rich and malleable voice, she sang with conviction. While she covered some serious subjects, she never lost her electric smile, pouring out joy to the audience, who poured it right back. When the time came, each of the musicians behind her also showed what they could do alone. The three horns players each vied for the best solo, but in the event it was too close to call. As for the guitar, there’s a reason why you’ll see Luke Rattenbury all over Brighton’s big band scene: he’s unrivalled, and he doesn’t even have to try hard to prove it. And the percussive jams - oh, the percussive jams. It must be hard enough for two percussionists plus the drummer just to avoid cluttering each other, but they were miraculously in sync and experimental to the extreme.

The Brunswick isn’t such a small venue - but it felt tiny, crammed as it was with Lakuta’s huge sound and the people of all ages who’d turned out to see them play. Wherever you see them, it’ll be a musical treat. But shows like this, in smallish dark rooms, where they can form a close relationship to their audience, elevate Lakuta, and make the performance special in some undefinable way. The album can’t come soon enough.
Ben Noble

Website: http://lakuta.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lakutaUK/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lakuta





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