Susana Baca

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

It was a disappointing audience for this terrifically passionate Afro-Peruvian singer but the smallish crowd was certainly enthusiastic - and quite rightly so.

A barefoot Susana, in a dreamy chiffon dress, took us through many different moods and tempos in her two-hour show.

She's a master of many styles, mixing African beats with South American rhythms and a bit of her own love of jazz for a real evening of fusion music.


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What's great is that she moves seamlessly from a Latino number to a more Andean sound, so you simply go with her and both enjoy and marvel at her versatility.

Her four-piece band was as crucial to the evening's success as the diva herself, with the percussionist playing on everything from a rattle made from a donkey's jaw bone to hollowed-out pumpkin skin. Another played the “cahon”, a box drum which gave his colleagues a firm beat to follow.

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Basically, these guys could get a tune out of a plastic bag and Susana's voice has such depth and range that she could easily match their ingenuity.

She had little English but was clearly having a great time on stage. The majority of us in the audience hadn't a clue what she was singing about, but we had a great time too!

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