Laura Mvula at The Olympia Theatre – Review

laura-mvulaLaura Mvula at The Olympia Theatre

Saturday 12th October 2013

Deserving nominee of BBC Sound of 2013, Birmingham’s Laura Mvula and her band of classical, jazz and soul musicians arrived on stage at the Olympia opening with “Morning Dew”. In unison, Mvula and her singers released a sound which created visions of exotic flowers and birds in our minds, a wonderful live sound. We fell in love with Mvula and her glittered cheek, and were mesmerised by the smoke billowing across the stage, the red keyboard, the harpist and violinists hand and hip movements amidst purple lighting.

Support act ‘Peter and Kerry’ could have been better, enduring the duo as they performed some lo-beat compositions while standing for over an hour was hard enough. If only they could have spoken to us in an attempt to connect. Besides this, Mvula and her band made us forget our standing pains with ease and humour.

Asking our permission to perform “Let Me Fall” which is not on any album, she stunned us and naturally pleased the crowd. up she made us loose our souls in “Flying Without You” and “Is There Anybody Out There?” which had the crowd singing back to her, cheering along with her. There was so much love for Mvula in the building. Moving on she played a crowd favorite “She” alongside a jazzy, yet powerful beat and then hitting a more reggae beat  she merged onward with “One Love” by Bob Marley.

Blowing us away with the reflective piece “Sing To The Moon” with has a distinct oriental sound on violin, the bands performance was completely flawless with a strong double bass and vocals held a classical style harmony. Like an exotic bird, she was dressed like Grace Jones with a head scarf, her appearance is as enigmatic and eclectic as her vocal.

Beginning with more intimate pieces she assured us before “Diamonds” that more heavier material would follow. During “Father, Father” she sang to us “I lost my heart in the dark, with you”, her lyrics are smooth and connected; she sang this song like an operatic aria. Suddenly the shift came with more upbeat songs, the crowd clapped and grinded  to “Green Garden” and she demanded that we dance for “That’s Alright”, which everyone went wild for.

Making a temporary exit she returned while singing from backstage with “Make Me Lovely”,  like something sung by Nina Simone, it was a perfect and subtle ending.

If “Sing to the Moon” is only her first album, we can imagine her second will be nothing less than perfection. Mvula performed perfectly at the Olympia in Dublin, what a joy after that long wait, she ended to cheers of delight. The next time she plays, no doubt the tickets will be like gold dust.

Review by Áine Byrne


Lucy Ivan

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