Triumph Over Adversity From

Triumph Over Adversity From African Disabled Collective

Mixing Cuban and African rhythms, and even inventing their own instruments, they have established a truly unique sound.

Their disabilities, that leave them in wheelchairs and on crutches, do not dominate their performance.

Though these factors are part of it, they have an inspirational influence and I am sure help to define and not to limit the people whom we see on stage.

The irony of a no dance policy at a concert by those who would dearly love to be able to get up and do just that was lost on the Dome security men.

Well, they did let some people dance at the back, hidden away, but it was hardly party time in the Concert Hall until the people of Brighton took control.

Before this we had all sat down tapping our toes while the band played, but there was still a kind of nervous tension in the air, in truth nothing felt quite right.

Like the East German Border guards of 20 years ago, the security men simply could not hold back the tide of people with an overwhelming urge to move to the front and dance.

In the end they just gave in and let them spin and twirl down the aisle.

Just a trickle at first, and then, as with the breaking of a huge dam, the people flooded down the aisles, the cheap seats invaded the posh and then the whole crowd rose to their feet and the party really began.

Not to say the dance was pretty, the seven foot bearded paisley shirt wearing guy, with his short pony tail screwed up tight and flailing his arms around like an epileptic penguin, who danced like a dad at a disco was an example in point. But in truth no one cared (like I can criticise I am the dad at the disco).

The WOMAD types, the office types, the crazies, the semi drunks, the old and the young, everyone was, at least, swaying their hips a little bit.

Not bad for a wet Thursday night in November.

And the band loved it. At that moment it all came alive.

Above the powerful but gentle harmonies of the singers, Roger Landu”s home made from a can and some wire “Satong” guitar wailed across and through those harmonies as if sowing them all together with a huge metal needle.

But these guys have not just triumphed over their physical disabilities. They all hail from Kinshasa, in the Congo, not a city for the faint hearted one would think.

Aside from free passes on the river boats handed out by the brutal tyrant Mobutu, amongst him signing death warrants and plundering the nation’s wealth, there is precious little help for anyone in that part of Africa these days.

The band describe their home as: “Huge: the third largest Megalopolis in Africa. In November, cheap jerseys the season of thunder and rain, the whole place sweats incontinently.

“The very neurons and synapses of your brain get drenched in the stuff. Down in the raucous toxic streets there’s a hard haunted look on the face of many Kinois man and womanThe city infrastructure is like a piece of chipboard furniture lying sodden in the rain: rotten decaying sorry as hell, bullet holes sprinkle the main drag.”

And yet from all this they have created a music of passion and joy, bright colour and excitement.

They are talented men who entertain us and more than retain their own dignity in doing so, while winning us over to their cause.

Very few others can manage that these days. In a world where X Factor/ Britain”s Got Talent types try to outdo each other with their sob stories about their past, to try and win sympathy what can loosely be described as an audience, to see such these men triumph so proudly over such total overwhelming adversity to reveal their own talents to the world is thing to behold indeed.


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