Occasionally a simple beat causes an irresistible urge to move, to sway and to dance.  At Manchester Jazz Festival 2015, Orquesta Timbala produced a beat which had the audience dancing in the aisles, clapping and cheering away.

Orquestra Timbala are not a small band, in fact at one stage there are 23 of them on stage.  It’s an awe-inspiring sight.  And launching into the Cuban /Afro-Carribean influenced fusion of styles the sound lives up to the sight.

Lead by Christian Weaver, six percussionists each add weight to the foot-tapping force which is Orquestra Timbala, driving the rousing rhythm and beats, which are complemented by the interwoven textures and melodies, much to the crowd’s delight.

They are heavy on the Mozambique-style songs, which see the group singing en-masse, and the strong percussive elements driving the throng of musicians forwards.  As the waves of brass erupt, so do the cheers.

The salsa and rumba beats are infectious and the buzz in the air rarely recedes.  People dance to the sides, mambo at the back and guapea at the front.  The audience dances in unison as individuality gives way to group routines.   It’s quite a sight.

As they come to a close, however, they make what may be seen as the only small blemish in the performance, playing out with a collection of songs in an unusual time signature.  This leaves the audience slightly struggling to find the beat, and perhaps not appreciating the end of their appearance at Manchester Jazz Festival as much as they had appreciated the preceding numbers of their set.

Nevertheless, it has been an excellent evening, the cheers continue, the crowd long for more but sadly an encore is not forthcoming and the hundreds packed inside the pavilion leave with a buzz in the air spring in their step and a beat throbbing through their bodies.

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