On Saturday evening, the Kala Ghoda Festival opened not with a bang, but with the enthusiastic beat of the African drum.
Drumcafe India, the Indian branch of a South African drumming troupe, gave the inaugural performance for South Mumbai’s first cultural festival, which turned 11 this year.
The five-member band, with its energetic song-dance and drumming act, attracted a huge audience to the Kala Ghoda amphitheatre before Union culture secretary Jawahar Sarkar formally declared the festival “open”.
“Our music is diverse, a fusion of various African rhythms with Indian beats as well,” said Simon, one of the four South African members of the Mumbai-based band; the fifth is an Indian.
Founded in 1992 and spread across 20 countries, Drumcafe believes in interactive drumming — small drums are given to the audience so that they can participate.
While this was missing at their Kala Ghoda gig, it included a 10-minute rap performance in English and Swahili by a 16-year-old Mumbai rapper, who prefers to be known by his first name, Sahir.
“I learnt my true hip-hop rapping from the streets and slums of Uganda, where I have family,” said the Class 11 student of Cathedral and John Connan School.
Down the road from the amphitheatre, art, food and handicraft stalls and the children’s workshops drew thick crowds as well.
‘Going green’ was a consistent theme among the art installations, which included a large solar power-lit Eiffel Tower by Vikram Arora and a ‘Conserve water’ art cube painted by children of the art forums ‘Apun ka Club’ and ‘Drawing from Within’.