Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Ledisi: Bush Hall, London: 09/04/10

Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10
Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10 Ledisi: Bush Hall 09/04/10

If I had to describe what Ledisi did at Bush Hall on Friday 9th April 2010 I would simply say; she came, she saw and she conquered. Anything less than this would not capture the experience fans were given that balmy spring evening. Itâs been 6 years since Ledisi last appeared on a London stage, but time has in no way weathered Ledisiâs talent. In Europe to promote her new two-time Grammy nominated album âTurn me Looseâ, the daughter of New Orleans enthralled her fans with 90 minutes of music which incorporated old and new styles of R&B, jazz, gospel and even a touch of rock.

Opening with âGet To Know Youâ from her two-time Grammy nominated album âLost And Foundâ Ledisi almost lulled the crowd into a false security that she was going to simply show off her big voice, smile and move a little on stage for her fans; nothing dissimilar to other musical artists. By the middle of the second song âEverything Changesâ it was clear that Ledisi was already reaching her artistic groove and we were witnessing something special. Watching her move; the jerky head and hand movements, or the sudden body dips, Ledisi showed that she was singing from her soul. As Ledisi blasted out the next track âUpside Downâ and taunted the crowd that âyouâre not readyâ for some reason I started to think of Dr Nina Simone. In her case she would not start a concert until there was absolute silence and in later years would walk off stage if she felt she was not being respected by fans. In contrast Ledisi demanded crowd participation, feeding on the energy we gave her; silence was not an option. On the album title track, Ledisi empowered the ladies in the audience to put on their stilettos and strut to get the attention of their man. Whilst the stage area may have been too small for Ledisi to strut, she gave enough attitude to show she knew what was talking about.

Her next song âI Think of Youâ was a crowd favourite, judging by the amount of hands in the air and loud singing to the chorus, âYouâre the air that I breathe; youâre the love of my life. I think of youâ. Initially interpreted as a song to a loved one, through her testimony and high-held hand, Ledisi was able to breathe new life into this song, and add a spiritual dimension to it. Similarly on âItâs Alrightâ Ledisi introduced the song by explaining how at the point of writing it she had seriously considered leaving the industry, due to the constant battle not to be pigeonholed. Showcasing a catalogue of material Ledisi sang old and new songs which included the sassy âGet Outta My Kitchenâ, the sobering âLove Never Changesâ, the questioning âIn The Morning, and the beautiful and seductive âGoinâ Thru Changesâ. Ledisiâs cover of âHappy Feelingsâ by Maze definitely gained a new legion of fans on the night. Whilst there appeared to be a couple high notes that Ledisi wasnât able to reach like she had on the tribute album, it did not dent the crowds enjoyment of this classic song.

As a fan of Ledisi my only disappointment was that there she didnât perform any tracks from her jazz leaning âFeeling Orange But Sometimes Blueâ album, however I appreciate Ledisiâs music is more R&B influenced now. That aside the jazz flavour poured freely throughout all of the songs performed that night, either through Ledisiâs ability to scat, the delivery of a lyric, or the change of tempo to a song. Similarly, woven throughout the show was gospel, either through Ledisiâs personal stories, or through the church-like intensity in which she sometimes sang. Although it was only a 90 minute show, the sheer amount of energy, and musical diversity packed within that time made for a truly magical experience; Ledisi you truly outdid yourself.

Photos care of B&S' Romain Kedochim - More visit ROMAIN PHOTOGRAPHY
Words Richard 'Ricardito' Ashie

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