Published on March 3, 2014 | by Laure Fourquet0
Gig review: Sons of Kemet
★★★★★London fans were delighted to welcome home one of their own – MOBO-nominated jazz band, Sons of Kemet – as part of their tour to promote their debut album, Burn.
Led by BBC Radio 3 New Generations Artist Shabaka Hutchings, who was raised in Barbados, the group features an unusual instrumental configuration; Hutchings on the saxophone and clarinet, Oren Marshall on the Tuba and Tom Skinner and Sebastian Rochford as the twin drum duo.
The name of the band derives from Hutchings’ first name; ‘Shabaka’ was the last Nubian King of Egypt and ‘Kemet’ was where the first Black Egyptians are said to have settled.
After a groovy opening performed by hip hop group, Con & Kwake, Sons of Kemet took to Rich Mix’s intimate stage.
The group opened with All Will Surely Burn, a heavily syncopated piece led by a unique rhythm that could only be found in the presence of two drummers.
Sons of Kemet offer a very unique mix of sounds from the African diaspora and also draw on an array of other influences – music from New Orleans, West Africa, Ethiopia and the Caribbean.
The group succeeded in creating jazz that is experimental and at the same time highly accessible, exciting and dance-worthy.
There are many highlights from the performance, but my personal favourite was Inner Babylon.
True to the title of the album, this song certainly starts the fire. It serves as a passionate musical tirade about the dangers of cultural influence in America.
Sons Of Kemet’s music is exhilaratingly different; it’s a great listen for any jazz fan and a thrillingly rhythmic experience to anyone new to it.
The blistering array of compositions, mostly focused on percussion but also with a shade of contemporary electronic music, will convince anyone to go and experience the excellence of Sons of Kemet.