It had been several years since I had seen Arun Ghosh play live, and the prospect was one of several things that drew me to Bristol Jazz Festival. His records are very good – his latest, Where Are You Really From, reflects on post-referendum politics (at least, that’s what I thought!) – but it’s in concert that his music really comes alive.
Playing tunes from the album, his music was exciting, exuberant and optimistic. Taking elements from jazz, rock and a variety of ethnic musics – jazz-bhangra-reggae-dub, anyone? – he fuses something that could only come out of an multi-ethnic society. If ever there was an advert for multiculturism, this was it.
His enthusiasm is hugely contagious: moving around the stage, he made the audience want to get up too. At its core, this is dance music: it takes a lot to make me want to dance, but sitting in the middle of a row, I felt constrained by the seated venue. There wasn’t space to dance: I wanted to get up and jump around!
Just a wonderful show.