Posts Tagged ‘jazz cafe’

Live Review | Calypso Rose at London Jazz Cafe, November 14

Posted on November 21st, 2016 in Live by .


Garth Cartwright attends a rare London performance from the Queen of Calypso at the Jazz Cafe  (Photo by Colm Moore)

Calypso Rose has been an infrequent visitor to British shores over several decades, tending to often  play Notting Hill Carnival-related events. Her profile has risen dramatically in 2016 with the release of her superb new album Far From Home, it being produced by Ivan Duran alongside Manu Chao (and released via his French record label). Rose is one of the wellsprings of contemporary Caribbean music yet often overlooked in recent decades so its great to see a veteran like her winning a wider audience.

Born McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis on the Caribbean island of Tobago in 1940, Rose wrote her first calypso aged 15 and turned professional in 1964. Her witty, outspoken songs have made her a much celebrated – and sometimes controversial – performer at home and tonight she proved age had not mellowed her, ribald innuendo and belly ‘dancing’ occurring over the performance. Age has taken its toll in other ways – Rose’s voice is often croaky and she finds performing tiring, taking a break midway through the 80-minute set. Her bassist is a mainstay of the Trinidadian scene but the rest of the band are French and, in true French world music tradition, tend to favour a thumping funk rock that is shorn of musical subtlety. That said, Calypso Rose overcame the band’s shortcomings to charm, tease and sing such classics as ‘Do Dem Back’, ‘Fire in Me Wire’ and ‘Black Israel’. On a bleak autumn night she ignited the heat of Carnival in London’s Jazz Cafe.





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Live Review | Ed Motta at the London Jazz Cafe, November 3

Posted on November 8th, 2016 in Live, Recent posts, Reviews by .

Ed Motta

Ed Motta has been a familiar face to many for over two decades now, and on the basis of this superb performance there seems little evidence that he’ll be fading away anytime soon

Motta performed to a packed and highly attentive audience at London’s Jazz Café for nearly two hours and was a consummate showman throughout. It was the first chance for many fans to see some of the tracks from his new album Perpetual Gateways performed live, and his band – sourced from in and around Europe – were exemplary, considered and possessed a great group dynamic.

The performance opened with ‘Captain’s Refusal’, a track inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s classic detective thriller Sabotage: a delicately conceived piece that both carried a compelling narrative while grooving majestically. Indeed, his own ability as a storyteller really stood out as he took time to elaborate on the tales behind each tune as the evening progressed.

Much of his recent work – including 2013’s AOR – has been inspired by his fascination with both film soundtracks and times gone by. The track ‘Flores da Vida Real’ was influenced by TV series intros, and his verging upon encyclopaedic knowledge of arcane TV series from the UK – including The Avengers and Captain Scarlet – elicited a huge cheer from the audience, and this sense of camaraderie imbued this performance with a feeling of community.

“Motta simply loves music, and to see him in his element was a real pleasure”

It was a musically wonderful occasion, too. His hilarious story about meeting Peter Falk (the star of Columbo) in Nice and declaring his undying love to him via a vino-tinged haze was immediately followed by an energetic rendition of AOR cut ‘Farmer’s Wife’. Motta has always been bold with harmony and it’s his use of rock-tinged balladry with jazz sensibility that has seen him cut a unique figure on the musical landscape. New track ‘Forgotten Nickname’ was a real stand out; opening with expansive chords on his Fender Rhodes, Motta’s vocal soared above the ensemble, and the subtle instrumentation in accompaniment allowed his prowess as a performer to stand front and centre. Other tracks such as ‘Reader’s Choice’ – written in Amsterdam, a place Motta regularly visits for inspiration – carried a similarly slow, yet emotive feel.

There was plenty of vigour, also, with the full on funk onslaught of ‘Drive Me Crazy’ and the groove of ‘Smile’ offering up a fine balance with these slow ballads; a special mention should also be paid to musical director and pianist Matti Klein, whose solo on ‘Good Intentions’ was dazzling.

Upon finishing with his classic track ‘Columbina’ and AOR favourite ‘Dondi’ I was reminded of why I first fell in love with Motta’s work. He radiates passion for music and even with his most accessible tracks there is always something intriguing around the corner, be it a rhythmic nuance, quirky chord substitution or even a powerful roar from his inimitable voice. Motta simply loves music, and to see him in his element was a real pleasure.


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Songlines Boat Sessions With Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate

Posted on May 21st, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

© Savannah Photographic

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate perform ‘Lady’ down at the docks

In the second of our Songlines Boat Sessions, hip-hop singer-songwriter Joe Driscoll and kora virtuoso Sekou Kouyate joined us on the boat, along with band members John (bass) and James (drums). 

Whilst we provided the stew and drinks, the guys treated us to an acoustic version of ‘Lady’ taken from their 2012 album Faya, which was nominated in the Songlines Music Awards 2013. The duo can also be heard on the official Songlines Music Awards 2013 compilation CD, available exclusively at Amazon:

To see a selection of photos from the afternoon click here.

Due to demand, they are currently taking part in their second UK tour in support of Faya. Last Friday (May 17) saw the boys play to a crowded Jazz Café in North London. The evening was jam-packed full of ripping kora licks, tongue-twisting vocal lines and a raucous sing-a-long encore. The band managed to conjure a genuine sense of communal musical appreciation and pleasure; a perfect segue into the weekend. This feeling was reaffirmed by the large queue of well-wishers that formed to greet Driscoll following the set. 

Remaining UK tour dates:

May 23 – Theatr Brycheiniog, Powys
May 25 – Mount Pleasant eco, Cornwall
May 26 – Kaya Festival, Wales
May 27 – The Lantern Theatre, Sheffield
May 28 – The Source Collective, Carlisle
May 31 – Bath Fringe Festival, Bath
Jun 1Feeding the 5000, Bristol

Festival Dates:

Jul 7 – Beat Herder Festival, Lancashire
Jul 20 – Sheep World Music Festival, Wales
Jul 21 – Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Scotland
Aug 18 – Greenman Festival, Glanusk, Wales
Aug 25 – Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire 

Look out for more Songlines Boat Sessions this summer.

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Carmen Souza at the Jazz Cafe, September 21

Posted on October 9th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words and photo by Birikiti Pegram, Songlines Intern

The final show of Carmen Souza’s tour was an ever so slightly sombre evening, as she and her band performed their set for the last time. Their camaraderie in jokes between songs seemed twinged with a hint of nostalgia, and the small audience gave the night an intimate air, and a bittersweet kind of beauty to behold.

‘Afri Ká’ – her signature song celebrating the continent, and a personal favourite – was what I was waiting for and the band played it early on in the set. They wore earthy reds and golds, or nature’s blues and greens. And the rainy streets of Camden outside (even the mildly intimidating, dark and cold venue that is the Jazz Cafe) seemed very far away with the bright sounds and colours of the ocean and the island of Souza’s Cape Verde filling the room.

Carmen Souza live at the Jazz Cafe, London. 21 September 2012

Her cover of the islands’ most famous song of longing, ‘Sodade’, later on in the set was lovely to watch – slow and moving, with Theo Pas’cal on double bass lamenting loud and deep over a minimal instrumental arrangement.

The finale was a rousing re-run of ‘Afri Ká’. I am a sucker for audience participation, and with a shy kind of eagerness, we sung our warmed little hearts out to the catchy chorus. It was an honour to be the last audience for the Protegid tour. Though it felt a little like we were sharing goodbyes, with her new album Kachupada set for UK release in February, and another tour on the way, there is more to look forward to.

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