Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’dour and 4AM
WOMAD, London July 26th, 2014.
We were just about to play at the Charlie Gillet stage at 4PM, soundcheck was at 3PM. We were grabbing a drink and lunch under the artists’ tent and there he was – Peter Gabriel, dressed in a white shirt and jeans. We were awe-struck, like little children we all became. I think I mumbled something incoherent, he laughed. We took pictures with him and Mr. Gabriel said goodbye.
Half-way through Kobo Town’s set that evening the crowd was rammed to capacity in front of the stage, people were screaming in-between our songs. We jumped off-stage and into the crowd at the end of our set, doing our usual walk-off, when we started jumping in the air the entire audience jumped as well. It was deafening when we were finished, we signed autographs for an hour, almost missed our next set.
It was the most amazing show of my entire life, I get goosebumps just thinking about it. If it never happens again, I will cherish that memory forever.
Later that evening, Youssou N’dour took the main stage. He was a sight to behold, the place was electric, he played for over two hours. It was magic. To see such a master, such an icon, such a humble man. It was a joy to behold.
Of course, getting back to the hotel was fun afterwards, we didn’t arrange transport properly and had to frantically find drivers to get dropped back. I ended up on the bus with Youssou’s bandmates. They took nearly an hour to get everyone on board, there was arguing, haggling, smoking and drinking, everyone wondered who I was. By the time we got back to the hotel it was 4AM and we had a bus to catch at 6.30, less than three hours.
I crashed on my bed.
I awoke feeling as if a train had run over me numerous times but managed to shower, shave and pack, with my stomach in knots and my brain in a fuzz.
We played the next gig in a neighbouring town, but our hearts were back at WOMAD, it took a week to come off the high of playing to that amazing crowd.
Years ago, I wrote a song for Habit for Humanity, it has never been released to the public but you can download it here as part of my way of saying thank you for signing up to my mailing list. It has a world-beat feel to it and the more I think about it, it does remind me of Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’dour’s work with Amnesty International.
Download my song ‘A song to travel with’ here.
If you like the track you might also consider checking out ‘Side One: Journey Within‘. It’s my debut album and it’s full of eclectic alt-folk tunes that I’d like to think perhaps Messrs Gabriel and N’dour would dig.
Talk soon, Cesco