Review: Africa Unplugged 2014

Tanzania’s Platinumz almost stole the show but Tiwa Savage and DavidO proved why they’re pros

Crowd Pleaser: Tiwa Savage

Flirty: Tiwa Savage

THE GROWING influence of Afrobeat was evident Sunday night at the O2 Academy in Brixton.

Africa Unplugged, described as Europe’s biggest African music festival, was a night committed to showcasing some of the continent’s most talented artists.

The hidden gem of the night was by far Diamond Platnumz, the Tanzanian artist who was the lesser known of the three headline acts converted me and made me a believer.

Platinumz, real name Nasibu Abdul Juma, is a showman and an outstanding one at that.

Nothing makes you feel like you’re getting your money’s more worth than seeing an artist put in legitimate work on stage and Diamond Platnumz came to WORK.

The 24-year-old performer gave the crowd singing and sweat. Even though I was unfamiliar with much of his music, the inclusion of the East African star was a refreshing shake-up for Afrobeat music, which is very often dominated by West African artists.

Next to grace the stage was the illuminating Tiwa Savage.

Tiwa, who has sung back up vocals for the likes of Mary J Blige and Chaka Khan, took centre stage and showed us why she is undoubtedly Africa’s most credible all-round female performer.

Emerging from a large martini glass, the songstress blended all-out chorography with strong vocals and even gave a titillating lap dance for one lucky male attendee to her controversial track Wanted.

The first lady of Mavin’s music group held her own and did it with flawless hair and make up (seriously her hair was anointed). With three outfit changes for her one-hour set, the Doro Diva brought the much-needed show production element to the night.

Lastly was DavidO, an artist whose career shows no signs of slowing down.

The pocket-sized performer showed that what he lacked in height he more than makes up for in stage presence.

I am often quite critical of performances that require a ‘hype man’, I’ve always felt it a little pretentious and like having an unnecessary echo, but DavidO’s charisma on stage was so potent to a point that I forgot they were even there.

The BET award-winner ran through his impressive body of hits including Gobe, Dami Duro and finishing on crowd favourite Aye.

DavidO’s fanbase knows no bounds. When I surveyed the room, I saw faces from all types of backgrounds singing along, word for word to the sometime indecipherable song lyrics.

What felt like a condensed and somewhat rushed performance, I couldn’t help but feel that the young star still had the capacity to deliver a brilliant show but was stifled when they pulled the plug a little too soon, potentially due to timing.

All in all, it was really good value for money because – as is usually the case with Afrobeat artists – the performers showed a real commitment to their craft. I danced all night and that’s always a good thing

Source:Ade Onibada|

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