Afrodisiac (2002)

The first version of this project was a one-off special event in Cardiff’s historic Coal Exchange building with musicians, dancers and Cuban artist Raul Speek as well as a variety of grassroots performing groups. The programme included music by Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Francisco Repilado, Faustino Oramas, Simon Limbrick and Charlie Barber.

Music direction: Charlie Barber

Musicians: Simon Willescroft (alto sax), Tom Richards (tenor sax), Pablo Mendelssohn (trumpet), Chris Webster (trombone), Tim Gunnell (tuned percussion), Steve Kelly (kit). Semra Kurutaç (keyboards), Dan Dury (bass guitar), DJ Jaffa

Technical support: James Maillardet

Visual artist: Raul Speek

Dancers: June Campbell-Davies, Charlotte Hutchings, Kevin McIntosh

Other performers: Uprock Addicts, Patuá Dance, Street Dance Union, Sparks Fly, Batatân, Tumbleweed, Candomblé Drums, Batá Drums



24.10.02CARDIFFCoal Exchange, Cardiff Bay

With the financial support of: Arts Council of Wales


“Charlie Barber has been an original force on the Cardiff music scene for over twenty years. From his days with the New Arts Consort through to the more recent Charlie Barber + Band, his work has been marked by a continual need to move forward and renew itself. His latest project, Afrodisiac, promoted by Sound Affairs, seen at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff on Thursday night, marked an important new phase in his work.

Taking over the whole space of the imposing Coal Exchange, Afrodisiac was, above all, a spectacular. Involving literally dozens of performers, it ranged through a bewildering but exhilarating mixture of dance, rap, break-dancing, hiphop turntabling, African and Afro-Latino and, of course, the sound of Barber’s own band, now whittled down to a tight eight-piece ensemble.

Creating a sense of unity from such disparate influences with so many different performers sometimes felt like a Herculean task. But at the end of the day, it didn’t really matter. What came across most of all was a sense of everybody having a good time and a sense of celebration and sheer enjoyment that one could do with more often in live performance.” Peter Reynolds


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