Rain showers, hail, who’s bothered by them? Certainly not the people who ventured to Central Park in Chelmsford for the Essex Global Gala. This event was part of an ongoing ‘One World Festival’ to promote Cultural Diversity, and one of the few I’ve heard about that represented our culture, as well as those from around the world! Yes, one of the themed tents was an Essex one, and served up tea, jam, and a very amusing Morris Dancing routine. Other tents represented Afro-Caribbean, Polish, India, Gypsy, Chinese, and Pakistani cultures, and all had craft activities, stalls selling traditional merchandise, and tasty treats on offer to festival visitors.
There was also a host of musical entertainment throughout the day, which included the excellent Harlow Steel Band, Flamenco Dancers and Musicians, and last but by no means least, a headline concert by Ska Cubano.
Ska Cubano combine elements of Reggae, Ska, Cuban, and Jamaican music, played out by a core group of twelve musicians (plus guests), who take on drums, sax, trumpet, trombone, guitar, congo drums, and percussion, to create the overall Ska Cubano sound. They played for over an hour in the cold, and although the crowd would’ve swelled in warmer weather, it was big enough to give the band the warm reception, and atmosphere they needed to feed off. Not that they needed much help in that department, as you sense this is a band that ALWAYS has fun on stage. They were smiling, joking, dancing, and strutting around the stage as if they were born to it, and got the crowd singing and dancing along without too much trouble!
The band’s set included some tracks from their new album ‘Mambo Ska’, which has just been released, and their previous releases. Favourites among the crowd included ‘Tequila’, Ska Cubano, and Ay Caramba. The guitar, sax (the only female in the line-up), and trombone players, all took their turns at solos, while the lead singers entertained throughout with their dancing, and one even decided to use an audience members umbrella as a prop! It was uptempo, high energy, carnival fun, and although the singing and dancing didn’t entirely banish the weather, I thoroughly enjoyed it! We even got an encore as well, which was a bonus, then all the band took their bows, and went to greet the crowd, and sell a few CD’s. If this is what cultural diversity brings to the people of Chelmsford, then I’d like another encore please!