June 2005

Donné Roberts
Presented by Music Africa
June 2, 2005 Lula Lounge Toronto
Report by Natasha Elkington with photos by Roger Humbert

A taste of Africa is what Toronto got on this night celebrating Lula Lounge’s third anniversary as the backbone of World music and Diversity in Toronto.

The night was spread with African delicacies from Congo to Cameroon to Madagascar and the Caribbean served up by Music Africa as a Festival Preview Party for Afrofest 2005. And what a PARTY it was!

Fojeba, a singer from Cameroon led off accompanying himself on guitar backed by a talking drum player. The duo sounded like a whole band and their rhythms spilled into the audience who were shaking and clapping in their seats.

King Cosmos, the host with the Calypso flavour, gave us a sample of his newly released CD, transporting the audience from Africa back to more mainstream North America.

Toronto was hit by a Congolese storm that kicked the party into action when Moto Kapia, the leopard skin dancer took the stage. The man danced like a raging fire, gyrating his hips till women and men were screaming in their seats. Spinning a bicycle wheel on his sole, balancing a chair in his mouth and a cup with water on his head, he drove the women wild with his raw sexual, comical dancing, and they responded by joining him on the dance floor.

Moto Kapia

The next act to build up the heat was Dieu-Donné with their Malagasy soul sounds. The band is led by Donné Roberts, the guitarist-extraordinaire from Madagascar, co-winner of the 2005 Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year (African Guitar Summit). With this memorable first performance to a live audience, Dieu-Donné gave us a preview of their soon to be released first recording. Donné Roberts played his guitar like an electric fire — a dreadlocked rock star ripping out the songs of ancient Africa with Canadian Aboriginal sound overtones. At this point, everyone was on the floor, young and old, Indian and Chinese, African and Canadian, all immersed in African soul dancing, together and solo, but as one.

Donné Roberts
The nature of African music is first and foremost to share, to dissolve all barriers and walls and to plunge into the essence of song where the heart beats and all life pulsates. If this celebration at Lula Lounge is only an appetizer for Afrofest 2005 on July 9 and 10…Toronto needs to brace itself for some hot African nights of feasting.
We welcome your comments and feedback
Natasha Elkington
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Roger Humbert
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