This year’s Roskilde Festival, the 50th edition of the annual wizard, means so many things – for so many different people in light of the current situation in the world. With more changes than the mind can possibly muster that affect Roskilde’s return after its three-year imposed break, this reviewer was particularly keen to get going again.
Much can be said about this year’s line-up: a hit or miss ensemble that almost crossed the line in time to delight a voracious audience whose register of emotions over the past few years has spanned every conceivable path. Fortunately, when it comes to Ghana’s Alogte Oho, there is little doubt about how emphatic, meaningful, joyful and emotional a musical experience this year’s guests were treated to. And yes, such were the expectations of the partisan crowd from the start, but still – few had expected that the performance of the concert would have been as masterful as it was.
A match made in heaven
When he fell on a dusty Avalon scene that was about to wither in the hot parts of summer, Alogte wasted no time in unfolding his Ghanaian Frafra gospel mix to an audience eager, if not begging, to be driven away to distant dimensions without knowledge or purpose.
While ‘gospel’ connotes chorus-like songs that reach unbroken crescendos, what happened in this case was more akin to the most melodic fusion of reggae and rich saxophone-infused, jazz-like rhythms that would have been equally at home in the heat of Ghana as they were in the captivating Danish summer.
An affair at a good pace
Starting slowly, Alogte’s band sent their two female singers to the front of the stage. Their high chants carried the show from the start, chaperones between the worlds of the audience and the ways of the music on stage. Alogte himself strolled casually on shortly after, flanked by a heady cacophony of drum beats and instrumental brilliance. If the start was slow, what followed was a cleverly crafted build-up that raised the tempo once in a while with rarely seen verve. There were epic vocal solos that enchanted the audience temporarily, and impeccable percussive wanderings that heard echoes of Tony Allen, Fela Kuti and other afrobeat greats. While both elements, vocals as well as instrumentation, were sublime, the connection between the two was on another level – deftly pieced together by Alogte’s showmanship, which was unwaveringly relaxed in the best of times.
Source: The Nordic Page