Wow! Just when you thought the Sunday-night African music scene at Hidmo couldn’t possibly get any better, Mohammed Shaibu and company start tearing it up. Tonight’s show was some of the most inspired African music ever to grace a Seattle stage (not that there’s actually a stage at Hidmo, which is part of the appeal).
Mohammed played guitar and talking drum and sang. The other African All-Stars tonight were Leif Totusek on guitar and vocals (including a very entertaining fake trombone at one point) , Jimmy Free on bass, Thierno Diop on djembe and vocals, and a new (to me anyway) drummer named Leo. Edward Sourarez sat in for a few songs on vocals and drums in the second set, and Randy Neal played guitar on a couple of songs.
As Mohammed and Leif goofed around, I was really wishing I had the new video camera I just ordered. They were having way too much fun trading guitar licks and dance steps.
They did a great job with “Soul Makossa” in the first set. But things really got going in the second set, especially when Edward sang and then sat in on drum kit. It’s hard to describe how funky and sweet their playing was. Pretty much everyone was up dancing by the second or third song in the set. They did a couple of nice percussion breaks which pleased the African dancers – notably Sawe and Amma. The evening ended with some particularly funky drumming by Edward and some of the most amazing talking drum I’ve ever heard from Mohammed (or anybody else for that matter).
If you haven’t been to a Sunday night at Hidmo lately, check it out soon. I can’t promise that it will always be as hot as tonight, but there’s always a sweet, house-party vibe and plenty of good food and great people.