Review: Wara @ Elefest (London, 3rd October 2014)

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Announced by a heavy downpour of Latin and African rhythms, Central and South American harmonies and lively up-tempo tunes played by the Movimiento Djs, the tropical cyclone Wara blew wildly on the Hotel Elephant stage, storming the debut of the 2014 edition of London’s EleFest with no mercy.

Despite that the motto of the event was “A London to Havana Soundclash”, the mixed identity and multicultural ensemble presented its unique blend of global beats and fusion sounds to a small but effervescent audience.

The gig was a reinvigorating infusion of salsa, timba, mambo, cha-cha-cha stirred with hip-hop rhymes, urban electronic refinements, pulsating percussion solos and a collective invitation to dance. But, if you think that Wara are just a bunch of funny chaps living in a daze, you are completely off the track. They will let you dance and go wild, but next to it, you will also inevitably think about the words they sing: their unhesitant lyrics and their unmistakable straightforward messages.

Wara were indeed able to show their more committed side: a tenacious expression which stared far from the bright side of the life, pointing to a strong social engagement. The concise, but passionate gig, which glued the eyes and the ears of the audience to the stage for one hour, was also food for though, giving the chance for the spectators to reflect over the migrant conditions, their sense of displacement and the question of identity.

“Leave to Remain”, the band’s first and only album, which has become a mouthpiece for the Latin American community in London, was disclosed from top to toe, revealing itself as an electrifying work that finds its true dimension live on stage. The artists’ musical expressivity, their artistic and hot-blooded drive could indeed manifest and affirm itself to the fullest during a performance, close to their audience.

That’s why Wara’s gigs are events on their own: a continuous heat exchange between the musicians and their fans.

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