If Mame N’diack of Sabar Percussion had dived any deeper into his catalog for a solo concert last Friday at Zone 7 Mbuya, he would have been termed selfish, but that didn’t happen as he opened the cold evening with his 12 percussionists who thrilled revellers with their prowess at the guitars and saxophones.
It was not the kind of solo show by an established percussionist that treats a bunch of old favourites as guitar-strumming sing alongs for longtime fans. The venue was often silent as Mame offered something else: a continuing, challenging, intimate engagement with his songs, old and new.
At 9pm, the ovations that tend to greet familiar opening chords were scarce and muted. But as N’diack played plenty of songs like Nelson Mandela, Christine, Designer, Sali mata, Singa Amuuse, that were originally tucked within his new album, they went wild in cheers.
When he got around to his more widely circulated songs, he reworked them ruthlessly, stripping away pop enticements like intros and instrumental hooks, magnifying dynamic ups and downs, illuminating each lyric anew.
Later, his energetic performance received loud cheers from the revellers before they were pampered with poetry, aerobatics and surely it showcased the fusion of West-East African music.