Sefo Kanuteh & Meriya live at The Blueberry Music House, Norwich, 2nd March 2014. Review and photos. Plus The Vagaband, Daisy Victoria, and more …
The second gig of the year here featuring the full band for Sefo Kanuteh & Meriya and the friendly and welcoming Blueberry Music House provided a very welcome alternative to what turned out to be a grim result for Norwich in the football. In contrast the West African rhythms coming from the Blueberry were hypnotic, mesmerising and uplifting.
The high notes from the kora complimented the deeper grooves from the bass and cajon drums from the brilliant Jesse Barrett of Mammal Hands, with Adam Clark’s guitar and an array of lovely percussion within this range. The bass repetition draws you deep into the song, as it casts a marvellous and beautiful spell on the listener. There is something very healing, positive and inclusive about this music, and we’re lucky to have this special band in Norwich.
Tonight they played a couple of new tunes, including Meriya which translated from the Mandinka language means “Thought”, for which Adam of Nobodaddy sang lead vocal in English. I really enjoyed the whole set, as I always do, and am most pleased they are writing and growing, going from strength to strength. I hope there are some recordings in the pipeline too.
After this I went across the road to a jam-packed Plasterers where The Vagaband quickly erased the memory of the football with a couple of marathon sets, playing as a four piece of Jose, Tris, Joe and Dan, they were in relaxed, experimental and playful mood … and it was hugely enjoyable! Reworking several songs and even playing Ocean to backbone of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer, worked a brilliant treat. Throughout their sets they had the place clapping, dancing, stomping and singing in a lovely atmosphere. Through the steamy windows it was possible to make out a young couple dancing joyously and gloriously in the street to the sounds of the band drifting outside. This was so very lovely and so very Norwich. What a happy mood and just the tonic!
Last week I also spent a lovely evening with some delightful company in the beautiful Jurnets Bar, to see once again Daisy Victoria, Crumbs for Comfort, Half Cut Heroes, and starting the evening which this week was curated by Ben Chenery was Fern Teather. She played a very lovely and pleasing set of five or six songs featuring a few from her new Ep, accompanied by some great percussion, and was followed by the visually theatrical and musically engaging Daisy Victoria. Her songs are powerful and dramatic, very well delivered and at times somewhere between PJ Harvey and Kate Bush. She played some of the loudest guitar I’ve heard in Jurnets. It’s not difficult to imagine really belting out a loud and powerful number where she really lets rop. I was unable to catch her appearance in Norwich a few days earlier at Jack Pout’s event but noticed an increased confidence and I look forward to seeing her once again at Grapevine very soon.
Crumbs for Comfort followed and seem to have a very different line up from the last time I saw them but were no less enjoyable for that, in fact this venue suited their sound and they went down extremely well with a good sized and attentive audience.
It must be a year or more since I last saw Halfcut Heroes and I think I’d forgotten how much I like them. They were on excellent form tonight, great musicians and a natural frontman (even seated throughout – and with more than a passing resemblance to Wes Hoolahan!) they played some of the rockiest music I’ve heard at Jurnets with a lovely retro twist. I’ll make sure it isn’t another year before I see them again.
Another recent gig was at the Arts Centre Bar, where I really enjoyed sets by two solo acts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few times before, Natalie Lake and Bark Prelude, and saw for the first time Zacharie Lambert and Samantha Parravani-Coe. Zacharie started the music, some strong guitar playing and a confident voice, occasionally some riffs were almost Oasis-like. Samantha was also a singer-guitarist, with more of a country style and including a Dolly Parton cover. Very competent and entertaining. Philip from Bark Prelude is an excellent pianist and coupled with his highly articulate songwriting and storytelling is an engaging performer, some of the stories are so touching and heart-wrenching. Natalie, of course, I have seen many times and I love her voice, over her sparse and haunting guitar work. She’s a major talent and fast-improving and growing in confidence. A true talent who also is an excellent songwriter, conveying mood so vividly.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014