Musical experimentalism and a sense of uplift and joy were provided by the Tri-Nations Trio when they appeared at The Hub at St Mary’s.
The three musicians – William Sherratt on electric and classical guitar, Zimbabwean singer and percussionist Bruce Ncube, and Gambian singer and kora player Sefo Kanueth – brought years of musical experience and expertise on their instruments to a small, but attentive audience.
As well as the music, the trio also explained their instruments, their vocal styles, and how the music of Zimbabwe and the Gambia differs from Western sounds because it doesn’t have the same structure of exact pitch in notes, scales or chords, so a certain level of compromise has to be found in performing as an ensemble.
The first half of the concert featured solo performances from the three players, with a fleet-fingered Kalimba piece from Bruce being an early highlight.
The three instrumental guitar pieces from William were also well played, the first being an exercise in found sounds as well as joyful chords and passages of dazzling fast notes and chordal interplay.
The second half featured the three musicians playing together. With a setlist that ranged from funk-based township jive to the fleet-fingered and softly sung lullaby Rwizi Jordan, along with pieces that blended skittish backbeats to deep kora notes.
The quality of the playing was simply breathtaking.
This was an evening of exceptional musicianship, camaraderie and an illustration that across cultures, times and language, music is a universal language that speaks to us all.