FRINGE REVIEW – Samba Sene & Diwan: Africa Calling


Two things have been noticeable by their absence at this year’s Fringe: the sunshine; and a wide selection of top quality world music.

Fortunately, Samba Sene and Diwan provide both in the form of Africa Calling, an infectiously enjoyable set of fusion sounds: so upbeat and affirming that by the time they have finished, the sun has come out over the Assembly George Square Gardens.

Hailing from Senegal and now living in Scotland, Samba Sene fronts Diwan, a nine-piece band mixing together reggae, ska and world beats into a positive, up-tempo sound – one which transports the audience to all the passion and energy of Samba’s homeland within minutes of the set beginning.

Traditional string and percussion instruments are joined by guitars and drums to create a distinctive and modern sound, with Samba’s vocals adding joyful energy and exuberance to the already pumping mix. Diwan are a true world music group, with accomplished musicians from Senegal and Nigeria; as well as from the UK, New Zealand and the US. Together, they gel tightly on stage with complex yet accessible numbers which fill the tented venue with their full and atmospheric sound.

Although the rains return later that afternoon, Samba Sene and Diwan seem capable of creating music that can part the clouds – and their affirming music, sheer energy and positive vibe shine out like rays of warm and welcoming African sunshine in Edinburgh this August.

Samba Sene & Diwan: Africa Calling runs until Aug 22 at Assembly George Square Gardens at 14:30. More details here.

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