Thursday, 13 December 2007

Acoustic Live Music at the Blag Club, Notting Hill, West London

Klara CD sleeve pic by Lisa Deurell

These days...
You are probably on someone's mailing list...
I am on several; i get calls and invitations almost every minute: most times one ignores these calls but eventually succumbing, like I did on Tuesday.
Last time i met this Swedish blonde was in the company of the great musician Hukwe Zawose almost ten years ago. Then Hukwe, died.
His nephew,Charles Zawose who accompanied the genius of Mbira Music would also pass away a year later.
...But Klara? Their marimba student... She went on playing...and she has been sending me news about her music; from different parts of the world. I never heard the music of Klara Kjellén.
So I am trotting up the stairs of the Blag Club in Notting Hill.
At the entrance stands an attractive female with the friendliest smile on this coldest London winter evening of December 11th...
"Who have you come to see?"
I am not even aware that i just handed her four pounds. Smiles are magicians.
"Are there loads of acts playing?"
Apparently there are and so, I say: "Klara..."
The fact is I don't even recall how she looks like. Music is that strange.
"She is Swedish."
"Oh, her," the Smile recognises The Subject in question.
"I am also from Sweden..."
Inside are many musicians doing a sound check. A lousy sound-check. Seems to go on forever. As a musician i know the feeling of waiting and checking instruments while the audience is waiting and watching.

The fans : Cesare Rossi and Mara Darwish all the way from Italy.

Time to get a drink. I am staring and sipping my red glass of wine.
Where is she?
As I ogle and flinch from the constant feedbacking of the PA ("testing testing, one, two, three") a friendly guy shakes my hand. He is none other than Johnny Fish...he will be the first Solo act ...on a guitar that sings better than his voice and a voice that brings joy to his brash, straight to the point lyrics. John is genuinely(and truly) the unknown, busy, bustling, London acoustic scene. The scene that only bloggers (and blog readers like you) would find amusing.

Fact is the whole night at the Blag club follows Johnny Fish's punch and tone.
Pete Marshall, the second act, is big in size and height but has a mellow voice that soothes, lulls. Pete is pure soulful singing.

Later, he says he was merely toying with covers, that he has more music i.e. like rest of the musicians here,all have much more than what is being seen or given...
Take the third act. In my opinion wonderful symbiosis of guitarist / singer in one. A Glasgow chap by the name of Shuggie Murphy.

Shuggie's guitar won't just behave itself, though. His fantastic playing is jarred by the fuzzy sounds and everyone starts giving suggestions: it must be his battery ("NO it is new" he corrects)...wrong cables? No. Robert the sound man is busy indeed, and only the last song really gives credit to this man's fabulous abilities.
The only black duet is: singer Deborah Charles and guitarist Barry Vincent; who as a teenager jammed with the great Bob Marleyin Jamaica...
The two have a distinct blues-jazzy-funky sound that ushers memories and nostalgia of the pure sound. Before the invasion of manufactured "music", if you know what i mean.

Not just the sound but the combination of an acoustic rich feminine voice and those well matched experienced jazzy strings of Barry. Barry confesses they did not even rehearse much. (What about if they did?)
Yes it is, indeed, special here and very low key.
And to this is where the lady who emailed me will play. I am re-introduced toKlara by her boyfriend, Tom.
She is leading a quartet.
Most songs are about relationships and the theme is reassurance. Self-explanatory titles: "Patience", "I breathe Without You Now", " They will slow down"...all giving encouragement to a ceaseless, restless soul, about this life.

Klara on keyboards...

My favourite is "Under your skin" which opens up her album of the same name. The beat and arrangement of guitar/ stroke/ drum/ guitar/ stroke/ vocals/ stroke/ drum stroke/ quite catchy...

Musically, the album is as effortless as her live gig. A singer songwriter rich and filled with melodies ("I guess I was a little bit in love" is so soft and sweet and svelte it keeps away my slightly tipsy mood and hunger pangs)...
This is Notting Hill, West London.
I am glad i came to theBlag Club.

Klara and boyfriend Tom (first, left)relaxing with pals after gig.

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