In a backstreet in Hove, Brighton's bastard sister, on a freezing cold night in bleak mid-December, in the cellar of an unassuming cafe that looks like any of the hundreds of small cafes in Brighton and Hove, I had the priviledge to be present to an evening of musical brilliance in the name of charity. The place (it is a cellar after all) holds about 40 people, but the 40 that were there were in for a bit of a treat.
MusicforAfrica is a project set up by Dani Wilde, one of the performers during the evening, to raise money to provide a primary school in Kenya with the resources to teach the kids there musical education for one year. One school, one country, one year. It's not much - in fact in terms of the recent WTO talks it's barely a grain of wheat in the sack, but it's a start, it's something, and what's good is that it happened. Dani recruited 4 other musical friends, and put on a charity concert, simultaneously selling a Music for Africa EP - every penny made to go to the cause.
The peformers were Dani Wilde herself, a phenomenally talented singer who would walk a 'talent' competition like The X Factor; but in hindsight it would be a waste of such a voice. Al Brown, another fantastic singer in the mould of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, managed to overcome a middle-aged drunk woman, possibly a hobo, trying to match her note for note during 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You'. Phil Bentley, who was the first act supported by a cellist called Sarah, opened the night with a set of gentle piano songs sung in an even gentler voice, akin to James Blunt but much more listenable. Sarah-Louise Boyle, who can't have been a day over 18, was absolutley gorgeous ;) and sang her own songs with lyrics and musicality that belied her years. And finally, Roger Davies, Yorkshire man born and bred (that's a fact), finished the night with his brilliant songs, gently-comic lyrics accompanied by warm acoustic guitar playing.
The night finished with the whole reason I was lucky to be there - Roger closed with a song penned by a certain Dad, called 'Bushfire'. (The song is called Bushfire, not my Dad). He also helped put together the CD for Dani - and last night (19th) it all came to fruit in a great night of pure relaxed entertainment that didn't take itself to seriously, and the benefits were all for charity.
Buy the CD.