World Minds And Music with Adam Solomon , Negarit , Shiamak DAvar and Rashad Muhtaj at the Rivoli, February 29. Tickets: $25. Attendance: 206. Rating: NNNN
There was no better way to end an afternoon of sun and splendour than with Sunday's World Minds And Music. Across Boundaries, a centre for ethnoracial health care, put on the successful fundraiser - first in a series of rich music benefits for the fair treatment of mentally ill people of colour - featuring top-notch musical acts plus a few wild cards. Ethiopian collective Negarit warmed up with a laid-back funk stew before launching into more traditional-sounding soul numbers, then faded out of their set with a down-tempo tone. They delivered the kind of earthy stuff that makes you close your eyes periodically, but not a soul had an eye closed when Negarit's dancers threw down later in the evening.
World Minds And Music also offered mouthwatering culinary delights provided by the Afghan Women's Catering Group and pointillist painter Anastasia 's watercolours, each one true to the evening's theme of harmony.
The Carlos Bulosan Theatre represented for the Philippines with a lively dramatic sequence that paid attention to humour and unspoken truths.
Later musical highlights included the pleasant surprise of a last-minute addition to the bill, none other than Freedom L-ive and Radio Nomad's Waleed Abdulhamid , last seen performing at Harbourfront's Kuumba event on Valentine's Day.
During the decidedly stripped-down half-hour set, Abdulhamid's plaintive vocals were underscored by the African-Caribbean soul fusion of percussion and saxophone and the deft Afro-jazz of Kenyan guitarist Adam Solomon .
But even with the most incredible performers, it's mighty hard to remain in the Rivoli back room for four hours straight.