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The Contemplations, Rants & Reminiscences of DavidB327

Something Sensational To Read On The Train

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More about gigs and food
It has been quite a lovely, relaxed weekend, and for once I’m not busy trying to catch up with my work. On Friday we went to see Rokia Traore in concert at the Barbican. We got there early, so had plenty of time to have a drop of wine before the gig started. Well not so much a drop as half a bottle each – I don’t think the ‘large glass’ was meant to be nearly 375 ml. Not that I would complain about an extra helping, but it would be nice not to be served alcohol in plastic beakers.

The support band were rather tedious, to put it mildly. Normally one would expect the support to have some kind of connection, in musical style, with the headline act; however tenuous sometimes the connection might be. In this case there was none at all, and it was a huge relief when they departed. Amazingly enough, when we returned to our seats after the interval, two guys that had been sitting behind us did not return. So they came to see Sweet Billy Pilgrim, and left before Rokia Traore graced the stage. What idiots! Well they had been droning on about website design beforehand. Big deal.

I have actually only become aware quite recently of the music of Rokia Traore. Oddly enough both Rokia and Oumo Sangare (who we had the pleasure of seeing at the Barbican a month ago) are both being promoted as Mali’s leading female vocalist. From listening to the latest album Tchamantche, and seeing Rokia on Later recently, I had high hopes. I was definitely not disappointed.

Not surprisingly this set showcased the latest album, and I believe that Rokia performed most, if not all, of the tracks on that album. There were stomping versions of Zen & Aimer, and some great guitar work and vocals on Dounia (this sounded so much better, and more dramatic, performed live). As a tribute to Billy Holliday Rokia sang Man I Love. The last song before the inevitable encore was Tounka, which has, I must say, a hint of Gloria about it. Nevertheless it’s a great song.

Not only was the music brilliant, but Rokia Traore has had her head shaved since being on Later! What more could one say in praise of such an amazing performer? Needless to say, we will be wanting to be in the audience when Rokia returns to London.

This isn’t a photograph from the concert. I’ve just included it because it’s a great photograph.


Last night we went for dinner to Apsleys. It’s certainly different to the old Conservatory restaurant, but they have really got their act together since the launch. Of course I’m always amenable to good Italian food, and this is definitely good. It was a good atmosphere last night, and reasonably busy, despite these credit crunch days.