Thanks to Wafande, Natasja’s legacy lives on
When the iconic Natasja Saad passed away tragically in 2007, many wondered if her flourishing reggae legacy would simply fizzle out into the narrative of Danish music history, or whether it would continue to live on. But six years on, Danish Dancehall is at an all-time high, vying for airplay on radio stations and making its way into festivals and concert venues with aplomb, as last night’s entertainment at Vega proved.
It took a while to get the ball rolling, as Bikstok Røgsystem’s frontman PharPhar gave a short, comical intro for Kaka who ran on stage beanie-clad and content. The eager crowd responded well to Kaka’s well-paced lyrics over a catchy beat and had scarcely begun to enjoy the show, three songs in, the show’s main act Wafande took to the stage.
Performing as if the temperature were up in the high 20s on a summer day, Wafande was quick off the mark, delivering a live version of his charged ‘Lang Vej Hjemme’ (‘Long Way Home’). The tune, an emotional reflection on cultural identity, ultimately sounds better on a CD at home than it does live, but it still had a powerful effect on the crowd, who sang wittily along to its anti-Dansk Folkeparti / Pia K lyrics. This was followed by the merry ‘Kom ned til Vandet,’ (‘Come Down to the Water’), a casual tribute to summer in Denmark that radiated through Lille Vega.
With his main tracks seemingly exhausted in the opening phase of the show, Wafande geared down and sung a few less popular numbers that gave the audience a chance to breathe before Kaka joined him on stage to somewhat reignite the show. Things livened up towards the end with a French retake of Sting’s iconic ‘Englishman in New York’ before ‘Giv mig et smil’ (‘Give me a smile’) rounded things off appropriately.
Having already performed earlier in the day at the same venue to a concert hall full of kids, Wafande was still sharp and cheerful come evening. If last night is anything to go by, he looks set to challenge the airplay dominion of pop and R&B in Denmark. Thanks to him, Natasja’s spirit lives on six years after that tragic evening in Jamaica.