Can you imagine how hard it is to convince a bunch of 19 year olds to jump up and down to songs they’ve never heard before, in a style they’ve never really considered feasible?
In one way, I don’t envy Rusangano Family in this regard: at this stage in their career, this is what they have to do at every gig. In every other way, I envy them with every fibre, because they have that ability to get The Kids moving. It’s the rarest of skills, and the surest sign that they’re doing something very, very right.
Rusangano Family’s live show is entirely energetic, and utterly engaging. The crowd of kids who came to watch them, either out of interest or accident, were won over almost immediately.
I assumed that the crowd were their local fanbase (I saw them at the excellent Hard Working Class Heroes music festival/conference in Dublin) but I chatted to the band afterwards and it turns out they hail from the other side of the island. The crowd were just swept up by their presence.
I imagine they don’t see too many artists who blends so many styles. The guttural thrust of hip-hop, stabs of sub-Saharan African music, old-school house chops, and the build-and-release of the most effectively brutal dance music all combine to create a platform for the thrilling lyricism of the band’s dual MCs, who clamber all over the stage, taking the idea of “owning the space” to a near-logical conclusion.
I can’t remember the last time I was so enthused and energised by a performance – the music is brilliant, fresh and simple; the songs sharp and fascinating; the performance cutting and dazzling. Rusangano Family are so obviously the real deal it hurts.