John Williams, Norwich
JOHN LAWSON The discovery of African music has opened up a whole new world of tunes and rhythms to Western performers.
The discovery of African music has opened up a whole new world of tunes and rhythms to Western performers.
But it has certainly not all been one-way traffic as guitar virtuoso John Williams proved to a packed audience last night at Norwich Cathedral.
Tunes from Senegal to Mali, Zaire to Zimbabwe espoused the sounds of the Mediterranean and the Aegean as much as that of the Nile and the Indian Ocean – reflecting not only the influence of colonisers but the spread of radio.
The array of instruments played also reflected the geographical spread, with a whole range of ethnic flutes, whistles and percussion items, an accordian powered by blowing down a hose and thumb piano with little steel picks like a jaw's harp.
Holding everything together was Williams's guitar work, stunning in its economy of style and seemingly effortless.
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The remarkably-versatile Richard Harvey whirled his way through a seemingly-endless array of wind instruments, while exuberant percussionist Paul Clarvis persuaded an amazing range of sounds from one of the smallest drum kits you could hope to find.
Sharing guitar duties (and underpinning the rhythm with double bassist Chris Lawrence) were the flying fingers of John Etheridge.
A wonderful evening.