Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1090

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Laura Mvula: The Hippodrome, London 29/8/14

Laura Mvula: Hippodrome, London 29/8/14
Laura Mvula: Hippodrome, London 29/8/14 Laura Mvula: Hippodrome, London 29/8/14 laura Mvula: Hippodrome, London 29/8/14 Laura Mvula: Hippodrome, London 29/8/14

Flushed with her triumphant gig at the proms, performed recently at the Royal Albert Hall with the Metropole Orchestra, Laura Mvula, the 'it' girl of the moment, sang at an exclusive ‘audience with’ evening for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint. Just 100 tickets were released for this exclusive show, priced at £100 each and all funds raised were donated to the charity.

Nice to see someone as big a star as she, giving something back so early on in her meteoric careerâ€Â¦good on ya girl! A relaxed Laura (with a massive relaxed Afro too) hit us with "The Morning Dew", a towering piece of epic songwriting which set the mood perfectly, heralding the absolute benchmark in her creativity. Great swathes of sonic / ambient beauty filled the room while highlighting her band's individual approach and providing a captivating start, bolstered by the motoric drumming of the much in demand beatsmaster, Troy Miller, who also doubles up as Mvula's MD.

Laura was clearly now enjoying the smaller setting environment and joking in a very self deprecating manner about wetting herself! By jove! Good to see she doesn't take herself too seriously, she lets the talent do the talking! Next up,"Let Me Fall", a song about freedom she explainsâ€Â¦a mesmeric offering which crescendoes sweetly as the fleeting chorus clamours for our utmost attention, dreamy softness, life in soft focus if you like!

"She" was next on the agenda, it's bittersweet sentiment stacked with a heavenly band of (backing vocal) angels, left this listener breathless - a militaristic drumbeat kicked in when you least expected it, shot out a ring like gunfire. This certainly got my neighbour for the night, resident Chelsea Pensioner Dave's interest from then on inâ€Â¦top stuff!

"Is There Anybody Out There?" ramped up the emotional intensity, another spacious epic which evokes Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". It's quite amazing how the self assured Ms Mvula is conducting herself tonight, her consummate ease is something to marvel at and her style, vocals and delivery are exemplary. Suffice to say it will be incredibly interesting what she is going to produce next, thoughts of a second album must be coming into the fray.

Two solo renditions of "Diamonds" and "Father Father" really stole the show for me, stripped back with just Laura and her piano. This was the calm before the storm, as next up was "Green Garden", which simply blew-up, driven by an almost pounding soca-style beat and an electric bass mimicking "Inner City Blues". The party had begun and it was time for the audience to copy Laura and let their hair down! The levee had well and truly broken, here was an artist capable of taking it up another gear, something a lot of bands don't actually do!

Encore of the night was MJ classic "Human Nature", which saw Laura accompanied by a lone cellist, whose fingers danced over the skipping arpeggios of the song as nimble and adroit any ballet dancer - pure magic! A finely executed show with a beginning ,middle and an endâ€Â¦really, is there anybody cooler then Laura Mvula? Me thinks not!

Words Emrys Baird

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