Pulse: Globalfusion

Globalfusion, performed by the ensemble Globalbeat fuses African, Brazilian, Cuban and Indian percussion with voice and sporadic dance.

Pulse: Globalfusion, St Nicholas Centre, June 9

Globalfusion, performed by the ensemble Globalbeat, fuses African, Brazilian, Cuban and Indian percussion with voice and sporadic dance.

The energetic and varied group is composed of Anna Mudeka, Marcus Patterson, Jose Ferrera Mulen, Jon Halls and Michel Cereso standing in for the usual Mr. Das. Each contributes his/her own expertise in a specific rhythmic area, and while it is clear that they are all very accomplished the piece occasionally lacked congruence; something which is undoubtedly hard to achieve when the music is comprised of so many different influences.

Globalbeat launched with a solo piece from Zimbabwe by Anna Mudeka, a very moving and beautifully sung traditional African melody about the tension and atmosphere before the rainy season. More upbeat compositions followed as Cuban and Brazilian influences were introduced, and towards the first half and throughout the second half of the set audience participation progressed with the increased enthusiasm and cultural infusion of the band.

Dancing, both onstage and off reached a climax with the introduction of a brass section, which filled the expanse of the hall with a true Brazilian undertone. Though the dancing, by Glynnis Masuku, was skilful

there was an air of incoherence which could have been aided by loose choreography. However the minimal direction added cultural accuracy, the raw energy being reminiscent of the spontaneity common of these climatically hot cultures. A definite high-point came with the explosive dance performed by the Guantanamo-born Jose Ferrera, whose movements were highly charged and offered a refreshing shift from the slightly stale African dance.

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The newly renovated St. Nicholas Centre was chosen to house this eclectic group, and much of the criticisms of Global Fusion could be resolved by a change in venue. Music inspired by such diverse cultures should not be trapped by a foreboding black backdrop and thick walls, being much better suited to an al fresco environment. Audience involvement was quashed by the grand building itself and although the mood was lifted towards the end, there were hints of a self-consciousness and forced atmosphere, which would probably not have existed on the bustling streets of Rio de Janeiro or the dusty plains of Africa.

The warmth of the evening felt wasted. Everything down to the lighting was mismatched, but despite the incompatibility of the surroundings, Globalbeat were ultimately triumphant in awakening the inner-rhythms of the audience.

Daisy Turner and Anna Gerrard Hughes

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