THE SAGE OF FALSETTO
review of Horace Andy concert – 1/9/2016 – Fox and Firkin, London
Seeing Horace Andy on stage, was like observing a sage, enjoying the company of his devotees.
I have to confess that due to last minute work on The Dub and the three hour journey from Oxford – didn't think it would take so long – I missed the majority of the performance. But it was good to step in and see the great one on stage, smiling - to feel the enjoyment – and to hear that voice, blessing all the assembled. Glad to be there for the finale, when he gave us 'Natty Dread A Weh She Want', Matic Horns in accompanient: a timeless rhythm of gentle bounce. Then Nicky Ezer, of Culture Promotions came on, with her eternal exuberance: giving gratitude to the Elder and to those who paid to listen to him – for continuing to support the music that is essential. Salute to Nicky, a seminal figure in UK roots promotion.
So after hearing that voice and that band, as people stepped out onto Lewisham High Street, I took the opportunity to request commentary on the concert. Like others and myself – even the little touch I got – there was widespread recognition of the talents of the band, Dub Asante and the Matic Horns. Three friends, Winston, Julien and Tonks had this to say.
''Best reggae show in 2016''
''Amazing band, really tight. Unrelenting: great horn section.''
Or Delroy, who said ''Excellent band. Was tight, tight, tight – sound like the record.''
I liked the venue also. The Fox and Firkin is a big, old pub. So you just take out the tables and chairs - and there's room for one and all to dance. From the gleam on his face, seemed like Alex - hailing from France - was still dancing inside when I spoke with him. ''The introduction was three dubs, with trombone. They played Godfather with trombone! He has energy. We grew up with his music: lovely to hear it live.''
Imagine walking out of the presence of one great man, into the closer presence of another – Little Roy. Give thanks for the bonus!Before asking of his next concert – which is at the Jazz Cafe – I requested a statement on the concert. ''It was a reasonably good concert. Crowd was participating, which makes it a good show.'' The words of a veteran.
We are fortunate to have these elders still with us. They continue to shine: grey is resident in their beards, but not in their spirits. Good to see Horace Andy smile.
It was this quality of timelessness, that permeated the last two comments, from two Trindadian Rastamen
Kadafi also known as Ital Lion, answered me saying,
''The catalogue he chose was good. His voice still sounds the same from sixteen till now. I come with my friend from Trinidad, so had to be here. A living legend without a doubt''
''Still trying to comprehend what just happened. Like going back in time. We've always talked about these people. Now we get the chance to see them.''. This was I Matic speaking, after his countryman spoke.
It was good to see him bubbling, enjoying himself: seeing the joy emanate out. It was good to be in the presence of the sage, if only for a little while.
(c) Natty Mark Samuels, 2016, The Dub.
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Celebrating the early Black journalists and roots reggae songwriters
written by Natty Mark on Reggaediscography