Last Saturday (21st Feb) I and a friend enjoyed music and culture for the price of bus fare (if you exclude the coffee and cake indulgence).
We joined an eclectic group of friends, tourists, locals and theatre goers in the National Theatre Foyer. They have free concerts every evening Monday-Saturday in the ‘Djanology Concert Pitch’. That Saturday the fabulous musicians were Errol Linton and Jean Pierre Lampe.
Under their names it simply said ‘Blues and Reggae’, which in the words of one review of them I have since read, are ‘unlikely bedfellows’, yet done successfully.
Errol and Jean Pierre were a delicious blend of harmonica and double bass.
In addition to this Errol was foot stamping, singing and did a stint on the piano. Jean-Pierre held nothing back, evidenced by the sweat that washed his face.
Errol mentions at one point that they are usually a 5-piece band. I am glad it was just the two of them. They had a harmonic distinctiveness that was so engaging.
The eye contact between them was effortlessly artless, showing them to be a proper partnering of talent. Vibing off each other and giving us the listeners, musical synergy which was sweet to the ear. Enjoy your city!
People of every hue were joined together in the enjoyment. Feet tapping, heads bobbing, bodies swaying, almost in complete unison. People were sat wherever they could find space, changing position, shuffling along to make more room, dipping in for a bit, staying the course. It could be described as poetry in motion.
I berated myself once again for not making more use of this kind of an opportunity. Stuff like this handed to me on a plate, and in the present financial climate. Come on!
My favourite sights:
The little girl sitting on the stage steps.
Stamping her feet in time to the rhythm and enacting the songs. She brought a smile to my face. So uninhibited, what pure enjoyment. Something to cherish and desire in oneself.
The old black woman jamming on the balcony as if she were in church. – I love her! She enjoys her city. I’ve seen her here before, I reckon she is here a lot. I could learn from her. My friend later noticed she had a Tesco’s bag, such an insignificant detail, but it still struck me as something to note down. Maybe it was the normalcy of it, here was a lady, enjoying something the city has to offer. Maybe that bag held her daily shop, or maybe just carries whatever she needs while she is out and about.
The boy with long blond curly hair, in his red converse, tapping his feet.
The Mum on the floor, her toddler holding onto a chair, bending away, his baby sister or brother asleep in the buggy.
The threesome passing juicy fruit.
Lovers, friends, onlookers, passers by…
The lady in the orange shawl, waiting for a play, tapping on the balcony rail.
The diners in the Mezzanine Restaurant and Terrace Bar, conversing to the backdrop of sound.
The guy in a bow tie and evening suit playing air guitar. He is studying the positioning of his fingers, which makes me believe he knows how to play. Maybe he is trying to work out the chords.
The girl beside me clicking her fingers. Her hands crossed and her professional camera on her lap.
The music ends and I wanted to tell them how good it was. Bar a short break, of 15mins at most, we had an hour and a half of London’s finest. My friend wanted to offer them a tissue, but sees they are prepared with a black flannel. I still encourage her to go.
I wished I could buy a CD, and was tempted to spend what I had not gone prepared to spend. The young woman across for me – who read her book in the short interval – gets out her patent yellow purse, checking to see if she can afford to buy a CD. She could, and she did.
If you’re not already doing so, do more with your city. You may be surprised at what it has to offer.
Errol Linton is also an artist. If you want to check out more of his work click either of the links below: myspace.com/errollinton