Virtuoso Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe is invited out to the Congo by the governor to give a concert. How could he refuse such an invitation? Eugène waves goodbye to the infamous gray Belgian skies and hops on a plane taking him to the dazzling colours of Africa. He is invited to stay a few weeks at his nephew’s house, by the stunning Lake Maï Ndombé. And that’s where he meets Turntable. Through their mutual appreciation of music, the servant and the celebrity gradually form an unlikely friendship, breaking the boundaries of convention.

The second volume in Zidrou-Beuchot’s African Trilogy, Turntable is a decidedly different take on a small piece of Africa.

Set in Colonial Africa, no dates given but pre World War Two, this is a much more lighthearted and personal look at a subject than the first volume. It’s very much the adventures of our protagonist Eugène Ysaÿe, but by adventures, I really mean his experiences as he really doesn’t have any adventures. That’s not to detract from the story but to set the stage for the personal and small changes one experiences when coming to Africa for the first time.

Zidrou captures the flavour of colonial Africa admirably; the dismissive disdain for the local population viewed only as servants. Ysaÿe has no previous experience and once left alone to explore and learn on his own he discovers a kindred spirit and a wealth of friendship.

Beauchot gives us naturalistic settings, portraying Africa as its own character. With no action per se dialogue takes the lead and we’re well treated to the expressiveness of characters. Costumes, furniture, vehicles and buildings all accurately creating that period of history with enough give to not tie it down.

Colours are warm and bright in the day and cool in the night. No use of colour other than portraying light in its natural and artificial states. Sarah Murat and Beauchot are credited with colours so we don’t get to know who did what, but it’s well done.

Please check out the preview below from Izneo, who provided my digital copy for review.