Review - The Afro Experience held at St. Andrews Auditorium

Bandra’s St. Andrews Auditorium was the venue for a fabulous music concert on Sunday. Thanks to Raëll Padamsee’s ACE and Roger Drego, Bombay audiences were regaled to an amazing musical show. They had brought down Africa’s very best musicians, James Jozee and the Gogo Simo band, who were performing in India for the first time.

This superb nine member band played a blend of many exciting musical sounds. It was a fabulous evening with samba, soul & pop and rich coastal sounds from Africa, mixed with exquisite western instrumentation and a touch of East African beats. To add to our enjoyment Matilda, the only female member of this band, danced for us as well.

Gogosimo band has entertained thousands of fans throughout its tenure, gracing various local and international events. The band also does cover songs of a host of different popular songs from genres such as Jazz, Soft Rock, Pop, Rhumba, Afro -beats, Salsa, Zouk, Segaa, Mwanzele, Mserego and Soul. The audience listened in foot tapping glee as James sang the ever popular song “No Woman No Cry”, with a Gospel twist. Other notable covers they sang were “You can feel it All Over”, as James is an ardent Stevie Wonder fan. Their version of the beautiful song “When You’re Smiling” had a very ‘Swing’ sound to it, while James sang “I Feel Good” exactly the way Ray Charles does, since Ray is another favourite of his. Their saxophonist was terrific on

“Tequila”, a real old time favourite. From singing “Hotel California “ to “Malaika”, “Africa”, and “Hakuna Matata” from the film Lion King, James Jozee and his band managed to straddle a number of musical genres.

St. Andrews Auditorium
St. Andrews Auditorium

Everyone in the houseful auditorium seemed to be having a ball. I actually heard my neighbor say “Men, I wish my husband had come, he has missed an experience of a lifetime!” Towards the end of the show, James got the known singers from the audience to join the band on stage and Darren Das did a great job of singing “Black Magic Woman”, while local jazz singer Heather was charming in her version of ‘Valerie.’ Comedian Javed Jaffrey, who sat next to me said he found the music “uplifting “, while my guest Denzil Smith, the well known actor, said he was “surprised at how good the concert and the music were”! This really was “happy” music! Thank you Raëll and Roger!