Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Dancing Shangaan style
'No one cares what you look like when you dance' was a spot of advice recently heard at a wedding 'do'. These words were ones of encouragement while I was nervously dribbling a toe around the outskirts of an underpacked dancefloor attempting to decipher whether it was worth jumping in.
Whether they ring true is a moot point. Does anyone care that I look like octopus man being brought back from beyond the grave when shaking a limb? i might but whatever your skills, African dance troupe Shangaan Electro make dancing look fucking cool without seeming to have any cares in the world. Which is probably the whole point.
Shangaan Electro's flex is a combination of ludicrous bumpy boiler suits, smiling enthusiasm, broad range age and mental lo-fi music. When we caught them at Gillett Square at the start of July on what must have been one of the day's hottest years, the vibes were ludicrous and the music getting so fast it was almost catching its own tale. The crew totally owned the joint for 45 minutes performing pure dance music at speeds verging on dangerous.The final song in particular sounded like summat one might hear on classic Helter Skelter tape pack.
By contrast, the live drumming afterwards, although loud and enthusiastic didn't have quite the same life giving grin-inducing wonder. However, one little drumming lad stood out for me. Bespectacled (not in shades), not giving it any attitude (as many of his youthful colleagues were) and concentrating hard, he was the token geeky dude doing it cos he was into it regardless of whether he seemed cool or not. Or so it seemed. Big up the specky dude doing it for ostensibly all the right reasons. 'No cares what you look like when you drum.'