Review: Family Atlantica @ Battersea Arts Centre (London, 14th September 2016)

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It’s always good to go back to the Family. You can constantly feel at home with them and experience that comfortable atmosphere which smoothly makes you at ease. I don’t know if that’s because of the music they play, attitude they have, or good vibes they give out, but every performance of Family Atlantica is a panacea, a cure-all for every day-to-day problem.

That feeling was emphasised even further during the last gig played by the London-based ensemble at the Battersea Arts Centre. Luzmira Zerpa, Jack Yglesias and stage-partners displayed far and wide their brand new, shiny and sparkling album, published by Soundway and titled Cosmic Unity.

Despite the work is just four months old, the band already showed a remarkable cohesiveness when playing its tracks. The musicians effortlessly switched between styles, tempos, moods and traditions as if nothing was happening, moving from cumbia to afrobeat, reggae to ethio-jazz as if it was business as usual. Then, what was even more noticeable, was their ability to alternate their solo parts as if they had rehearsed and played them for years.

Finally, it was fun; really a lot of fun, as Family Atlantica has got us used to. The vitality of Luzmira Zerpa and her know-how in energising and gripping the audience’s attention is the added value of the project, and the Venezuelan artist was really keen to remember it to all her listeners. Throughout the gig, she gave life to impromptu call-and-response, dances and chorus, keeping up with the radiant character of the set-list presented.

To be fair, the audience was already pretty willing to move their hips and have good time thanks to Ezra Collective. The quartet, which introduced Family Atlantica’s performance, won everyone over with their elegant free-jazz, brightened by Latin and West African influences, and set the mood to a high-spirited night.

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