The 8-piece group Ibibio Sound Machine already stand out on paper. On their website they describe themselves as a “clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of west-African funk & disco and modern-post punk & electro.” Not only do they weave through a number of genres, lead singer Eno Williams also combines both the English and Nigerian language together to create almost a completely new language.
The group brought their highly energetic show to this year’s jazz festival and did not disappoint the sold out crowd.
The group’s set mainly consisted of tacks taken from their latest album Doko Mein that was released earlier this year, with a stand out track being She Works Very Hard. A bass heavy song that clearly demonstrates the group’s Nigerian influences and perfectly showcases their high-tempo performance style.
Unlike some other acts at this year’s festival, Ibibio Sound Machine were keen to get the audience involved with their performance. William’s often used call and response to create a more intimate atmosphere that felt more like a carnival than an actual concert.
When the group finally finished their set, they were ambushed by the crowd, who were calling out for more. The band quickly responded and rushed back onto the stage to play another song, which also involved percussionist Anselmo Netto jumping off stage and going into the audience with his drums.
However, even after finishing that encore, as the band began to once again leave the stage, Netto rushed back on and began playing leaving the rest of the group initially confused but then eventually decided to carry on and play one more song, leaving the audience satisfied with the group’s extraordinary performance.
Before this year’s festival had even begun, Ibibio Sound Machine were already one of the most highly anticipated acts, but their performance exceeded expectations and demonstrated just how universal and broad the genre of jazz really is.
By Abbie Aitken