Immigrè played Afrobeat that combined West African funk with jazz and Afro-Caribbean style at the last showing of the InDIGenous Jazz Series on Friday at Madison’s Memorial Union Play Circle theater.
The band includes Tony Barba on the tenor saxophone, Bryan Elliott on the baritone saxophone, Dave Cooper on the trumpet, Jamie Kember on the trombone, Matt Manske on the guitar, Mike Kelly on the guitar, Peter Baggenstoss on the keyboard, Ryan Lammey on bass, Tim Patterson on the drumset, Paddy Cassidy on percussion and Djam Vivie on percussion
Immigrè started playing right away without introducing themselves. Cassidy and Vivie started first, and then the others joined in. Manske’s microphone became louder as he grabbed the attention of the audience, who clapped for his performance.
The other musicians, however, continued to play. This became a theme throughout the concert, when one musician would play a little louder than the others for a bit of a solo.
The audience started clapping to parts of Immigrè’s music. They played their music with a heavy focus on its beat, which stayed consistent throughout most of their songs. Their sound was rhythmic.
As the musicians continued to play, they wore casual clothing. Baggenstoss wore a beanie, Vivie wore sneakers and Lammey wore a flannel.
During the second song, Patterson, Cassidy and Vivie went into a musical exchange with the horn players. After jumping back and forth between each other, Cassidy set off into a drum roll.
“We’re so happy to be playing here,” Cassidy said after the song, smiling during the entire performance.
As the third song started, the lights dimmed red. Kember kept the group on beat, which sometimes meant directing people to either stop or start playing their instrument.
At this point, some of the audience had left their seats to dance and sway in the aisles.
Vivie put his instrument, which was similar to a drum covered in maraca beads, around his neck to hang while he continued to shake it.
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A question-and-answer series followed intermission. The band was asked about their inspiration for the name “Immigrè” and why they chose to play Afrobeat.
Cassidy said the band enjoys playing Afrobeat because it incorporates different types of rhythms. He said there is no specific purpose, and encouraged people to dance however they’d like. He said there are no rules to Immigrè’s type of dancing.
Kember said the band had just started composing the music they played at the concert six weeks ago.
When asked about the name “Immigrè,” Cassidy said it means “immigrant,” which to the band resembles the immigrant willing to leave so much behind to explore. It’s the spirit Immigrè is trying to capture.
“For us to be playing our music, we have to travel,” Cassidy said. “We’re like musical instruments. And the music itself allows you to travel.”
At the end of the question and answer series, Kember said the band would begin playing their song “Rise Up.” This song had vocals.
Kember asked the audience to respond to Cassidy singing “When you’re beat down,” with “You must rise up,” and when Cassidy sang “Cannot keep us down,” for the audience to sing, “We will rise up.”
“Rise Up” had a slower beat, but as it began to rise, people left their seats to start dancing again. There were more people dancing than in the first act.
After finishing the show, the audience called for an encore. Immigrè played one more song. At this point, the audience had spread across the entire front of the stage to dance.
When Immigrè’s last song finished, so did the 2018 InDIGenous Jazz Series. It will start again in the spring of 2019 at the Madison Public Library.