It was an epic night on Sunday May Day Bank Holiday as the DIÁSPORA 11-piece band performed an explosive three sets at Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club. If you’re not familiar with the club, it’s a very bohemian and cosmopolitan bar in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, and the guys sure know how to whizz up a tasty cocktail! The lights were dimmed, and the candles were on the tables, with salsa music playing in the background – which set the mood perfectly for the night’s proceedings.
The set culminated with two tunes in the Guaguancó style – one of Cuba’s most poignant folkloric rhythms; ‘Caravan’ featured some battering percussion solos from Venezuelan conguero Frank Mata and the band’s very own bonguera and timekeeper Rosemary “Rosita” Toll. The virtuosic piano skills of Andy Stamatakis-Brown really came to the forefront in this arrangement with a rippling improvisation that steadily built up and raised the roof off the club – ending in a dramatic triplet break with the whole band in unison, which ripped away the cover to reveal underneath the more introverted poem and DIÁSPORA original – ‘Místico’.
The culminating salsa arrangements ‘Moondance’ and the hit Puerto Rican song ‘Déjame Soñar’ brought the night to an upbeat climax – instantly filling the dance floor and featuring an explosive percussion solo from DIÁSPORA’s maverick drummer Dave Simpson.
DIÁSPORA has become a real ‘VIBE’ band: it’s a single living, breathing, moving organism, yet it’s free and open at the same time, resulting in bursts of collective spontaneity – clapping in clave, improvised ‘coro’ refrains and onstage dancing left and right. The eleven-piece lineup blends influences from Latin American, mainstream popular and world rhythms, and can be described as truly a musical carnival. By the end of the night, the club was full of people dancing, drinking and having a great time, and most of the audience carried on dancing into the early hours of the morning – long after the DJ had started playing. A great night for DIÁSPORA, and a promising taste of what’s to come.
“...a hugely talented and energetic band...This is a band we will definitely be booking again and again.”
Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club
“...a young band set to ignite and inspire listeners and dancers wherever they appear.” Manchester Jazz Festival
“Absolutely stunning.” Band on the Wall