On a beautiful spring day on May 24, the Taste of Durham festival presented delicious international food provided by locally-owned restaurants along with renowned national acts and local musical talent. Most of the music available fell within the category of roots music, including Afrobeat, Cuban, blues, jazz and folk.
The main stage featured Cuban singer and guitarist José Conde. Based in New York, Conde gave a lively show accompanied by members of contemporary salsa band BioRitmo, which is based in Richmond (Virginia), instead of his regular band. The song selection included appealing Cuban son as well as salsa, funk, jazz and other contemporary sounds combined with Afro-Latin Caribbean roots music.
Next came the Seth Walker Band. Seth Walker is a singer and guitarist who grew up in North Carolina, but is now based in Austin. Walker is influenced by guitarists such as B.B. King, T-Bone Walker and Snooks Eaglin, but he writes a lot of his own material, which ends up sounding like classic blues song. His captivating performance included blues, rhythm and blues and even Gospel (in a blues form) songs.
The third act was Afrobeat band Afromotive. The eight musicians (the band’s members range from 8 to 10)on stage, led by Ivorian percussionist percussionist Kevin Meyame, presented a powerful mix of West African rhythms, American R&B and jazz. Afromotive’s sound is based on the sound of drums, horns and vintage-sounding keyboards. Standing next to me, Carnavalito’s bassist (leader of a top local Latin jazz and salsa band) mentioned that he liked Afromotive better than Antibalas because Afromotive are “more creative.”
The food available during the event included Italian, Greek, Indian, Cajun, Cuban, seafood, and ice cream as well as beer and wine tastings.
More information about the festival at http://www.tasteofdurham.org.