African Night Fever 15th Anniversary – Ropetackle Arts Centre – 18th August 2018

Photo by Jonski Mason

African Night Fever is a promoter who started off with a night club that only played African music 15 years ago in deepest Hove. Over the years they have expanded to promoting live music and have brought many diverse and interesting African bands into the area. Tonight, was their party to celebrate their first 15 years, incorporating all the things that have made them successful.

The evening started off with a bit of fun as a dancer taught the crowd few African dance moves while the DJ played some tunes. This was followed by the Cuban salsa band Sarabanda. Their music filled the room and everyone was soon up and dancing along. The music had a great swing and vibe to it that was hard not to be swept away by. It was a good mix of Latin American and Caribbean influences that seemed to finish all too soon.

After a short break and some African food for sale if the foyer, the West African band Xamxam came on the stage. The band started out about the same time as African Night Fever and they were one of the first live bands the promoter put on. Musa Mboob, the percussionist and singer from Gambia, used to teach drum workshops but then decided to try and create a band that is the spiritual successor to the most successful Gambian bands Super Eagles and Ifang Bondi. Mixing up his traditional Mbalahal style with influences from all over the world.

The music is hard to describe if you have never encountered Gambian music before but it’s all based around Musa’s complex drum patterns. With plenty of melodies on top provided by the guitars and keyboards. There are certainly some stand out tracks in their set that sticks in your head for days. I’ve seen them with a few different line-ups over the years and the band I saw tonight was by far the best they’ve put together. So, if you can, catch them now while they are on a high.

It’s not hard to see how African Night Fever has built up into one of the top African promoters in the South East, they always seem to put together a fun night with great music. All held together by Ebou Touray who started the company and is always there to compere the show. If you have never caught one of their shows it’s worth checking one out sometime.

Jonski Mason