Madrigaia and Insigizi
at the West End Cultural Centre,
Winnipeg, MB
(20 December 2005)

Madrigaia and Insingizi got together to put on a delightful performance of singing and dance at the West End Cultural Centre. Some of the songs were a cappella, but most were accompanied by drums. The two groups also shared the stage for a handful of songs, including the last song of the night.

There was a light-heartedness to the performance that came out in the introductions to some songs and the give and take between the musicians while they were on stage. That added to the passion of the singers and made for a wonderful evening.

The ladies of Madrigaia started the night off with "Tant Que Tres d'la Gang" and followed that with the beautiful harmonies of "Ma Belle Etoile." They continued with "A la Nanita," and the night was off to a wonderful start.

The introduction given before "Petit Papa Noel" was charming, and their actions as they danced along with the music added humour to the song. They switched calendars as they sang "Chanuka." Some of the audience joined in for parts of "C'est Comme ca que ce se Passe" and their input felt like a response to the song. The audience quieted down a bit as they reeled off "Niska Banja/En Filent Ma Quenouille."

They brought Insingizi out to share the stage with them for "Dwa Serouska" and "Berceuse," and the men grooved to the music and joined in along the way. After the men left the stage they had the audience join in for "Adeste Fideles" and "Born in Bethlehem." They moved seamlessly from one culture to another as "Simbi" lead into "Heart Song." For "Ile Aye" they formed a semicircle on the stage, and one came forward for the Brazilian half of the song and then switched out to two others for the spoken word.

After a brief break it was Insingizi's turn to take to the stage, and "Sqoqodo" gave a taste of the range of their voices. Then came "Chothoza Mfana," in which the dance was as integral to the performance of the song as the words. The chirpings and trills through "Wathatha Konakala" gave a better feel for the full range of their singing. And while some of the songs were serious, such as "Kwakumnyama," they also joked around on stage, with their actions for songs like "Gwelutshena" and their banter between songs and with Madrigaia.

It was Insingizi's turn to call Madrigaia back on stage for "Thula Sizwe" and "Ayangena," and the mix of the vocals between the two groups was wonderful. Insingizi dedicated "Homeless" to the family that hosted them, for making them feel at home.

The audience got to sing "Mbube" while watching the men dance. They played around on stage during "Woza Friday" while getting ready to dance "Gumboots." They also took the time to explain the roots of the dance after finishing it. They finished there set off with "Jikele Maweni," and when they were done the audience wanted -- and got -- a couple more songs.

Insinginzi started off the encore with "Grr Eshe" and then they called Madrigaia back to end the show together with "Igqiha Lendlu," a song Insingizi taught Madrigaia when they met at a festival the previous year.

All said the evening was a wonderful continuation of Madrigaia's annual concert tradition, and the audience was left hoping that next years would also include Insingizi.

by Paul de Bruijn

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