LIVE REVIEW: Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate @ The Bodega

Sekou Kouyate and Joe Driscoll perform on stage during the 30th annual world music festival Womad at Charlton Park on July 29, 2012 in Wiltshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images)
Photo by C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images


When two brothers come together on stage something beautiful is bound to happen. For Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate their fraternalism is not bound by blood but by music. Hailing from the U.S., Joe Driscoll met Guinea born Sekou Kouyate at a festival in France. Without speaking each other’s language, music became their only expression and five years later the pair have played over a 100 gigs, gained worldwide respect and are about to release their second album.

Fusing African rhythms with funky guitar riffs, the pair’s idiosyncratic sound resonated from the start. Regarded by the French as the “Hendrix of the Kora”, Kouyate’s performance on the West African harp was spell binding. With insane finger dexterity, Kouyate captured the audience while Driscoll enthused the crowd with his energetic rapping. Sporting a Cleveland jersey, Driscoll’s guy-next-door look and friendly demeanour received multiple smiles and laughs from the crowd. The pair mused at their annoyance of having to get visas before playing a lively version of their catchy track ‘Passport’.

With many songs carrying a political undertone, Driscoll and Kouyate’s music maintains a positivity that ultimately says ‘our only salvation is love’.  An instrumental rendition of ‘Master Blaster’ seemed acutely fitting and delighted those dancing.

Playing a selection of songs from their soon-to-be-released second album, ‘Fire’, Driscoll and Kouyate’s set ended with a suitably glorious inferno. James Breen on the drums bashed out a powerful solo while Kouyate followed with a kora solo igniting the whole crowd. Bassist John Railton joined in until all band members climaxed with a full, fast, jamming finale.

A buoyant gig that had me toe tapping all the way home.

For more information on where you can see Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate next, click here.


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