Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1092

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The Daughters Of Soul
The Daughters Of Soul

London's Hackney Empire recently hosted one of the most interesting soul gigs for a long time. A show stuffed with big names â old and new⦠All women. B&S met up with bill toppers Nona Hendryx and Sandra St Victor to find out what was going on....

One of the most intriguing soul shows to visit the UK this year was the âDaughters Of Soul' tour. Intriguing because it featured some new names â who are literally âdaughters of soulâ and some older artists whoâve successfully lived through the whole soul tradition.

The showâs newer âsoul daughtersâ were Indira Khan (daughter of Chaka) and Simone (daughter of Nina Simone) while the older hands were Deneice Williams, Nona Hendrix and Sandra St. Victor. Indeed it was the funky Family Stand vocalist who first came up with the concept of the show. âYes, Iâm to blameâ confessed the feisty Texan. âA few years back I was looking for a cool idea for a show â something a bit different to the normal solo performance. I knew plenty of singers I thought could work with me in the show and by coincidence I realized that many of them were actual daughters of soul legends â Lalah Hathaway, Indira Khan and Simone. Iâm also very friendly with Nona Hendrix and Joyce Kennedy â two great funky singers, steeped in soul and they were keen to join too. Hey â weâre all daughters of soul, I thought â but maybe in different ways.â

âI wanted in tooâ, enthused ex-Labelle star, Nona Hendrix. âFor me itâs important to keep the real soul tradition live â to keep playing the music of people like Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone and Chaka Khan. We need to let people see, hear and FEEL the music and what better way to bring the music to a new audience than with new, young singers.â

The concept was born three years ago and the core âdaughtersâ are Nona, Sandra, Indira, Simone, Lalah and Joyce Kennedy, but for the visit to the UK the team consisted of Nona, Sandra, Indira and Simone with very special guest Deneice Williams. The actual line-up though matters very little. âAll our shows are specialâ, say Sandra. âWe create a great energy between the audience and the artists and when we have a good venue, with good sound and a knowledgeable crowd the end result is always magicalâ. Sell out crowds throughout Europe and Asia testify to the magic and even veterans like Nona and Sandra are always amazed at how well the European crowds know their soul music. âWeâve had a great response all overâ, adds Nona, âbut last year at The Hague and then at the Nice Jazz Festival â well that was something extra special.â

âThe show itselfâ, explained Sandra, âis a two hour spectacular. We work solo, in pairs in foursomes and as one big ensemble and by the end â when we do âLady Marmaladeâ or âOnce You Get Startedâ you can really tap into the energyâ. That organic energy will mean that the project will continue but the duo still have their own careers too.

Nona is heavily involved with the theatre and movies and â very exciting â working on a new album with the two original Labelle colleagues â Sara Dash and Patti Labelle. âYes, for 20 years Patti kept saying she was going to reform the band, so early this year I called her bluffâ, confessed Ms. H, âand âweâre in the studio right now being produced by Lenny Kravitz. The albumâs due early next year.â

Sandraâs busy too with the Family Stand. They have an album, âSuper Soul Novaâ ready and are just finalising UK and US deals for it. But for the immediate future, sheâs really busy co-ordinating âherâ daughters â âCo-coordinating so many people takes time â but its worth it. The daughters, you see, provide such a wonderful evening of music â thereâs just so much soulful talent in them.â
Words Bill Buckley

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