Thursday, 30 March 2017

Caught Live: Soul Stripped Sessions (@soulstrippedsessions) : The Debut, 16th March 2017

Soul Stripped Sessions:
The Debut
16th March 2017

Launching a new live music night in central London is never an easy thing, with so much choice out there, but there is always room for one that does it just a little differently.

Above L'Escargo restaurant in Soho is a unique space known as the Salon Noir and this is the home to the Soul Stripped Sessions, a new regular evening of live music that brings together the best in rising female soul singer-songwriters.

This is a particularly rich vein of music right now, with young women in the UK being inspired over the last few years by the success of the likes of AMY WINEHOUSE & LIANNE LA HAVAS who in turn took their inspiration from US counterparts such as LAURYN HILL & ERYKAH BADU.

As opening nights line-ups go, this was a good one, each of the five artists featured ticking every box.

After a brief introduction from host BEE BAKARE (on whom more later) the youngest performer of the night was the also the first to make her way to the stage. 

SVETLANA was the opener and displayed a maturity beyond her years with her soulful vocal and it's jazzy overtones. She proved she's already an accomplished songwriter too while performing her two original tracks 'You Ain't' & 'Walk On By'. She closed her short set with a cover (as every act had been asked to do) by a classic female artist. She chose to put her spin on a unique version of the song most often associated with NINA SIMONE 'I Put A Spell On You'

Next on stage was Hertfordshire born IJE AMAECHI, again another musician who's own brand of soul music is inspired by jazz, folk and even African elements. Performing 3 original tracks ('Call Me What You Want', 'So Far So Near' & 'I Waited') all of which highlight her pure vocal and talent for songwriting. IJE closed her set with a cover of CORINNE BAILEY RAE's soulful summery anthem 'Put Your Records On'

Midway through the evening the talent showed no signs of slipping as the third act was welcomed to take the mic. LILLY LYONS displays an amazing clarity to her voice and the ability to captivate via her deeply personal songwriting. She performed two original 'Words To Find' & 'Wicker Boat' before presenting her chosen cover song, another CORINNE BAILEY RAE tune 'I'd Like To'. Her set was brought to a close with one of the highlights of the evening, another self penned track, the heartbreakingly beautiful 'Don't'.

The headline act for the evening was next to grace the floor. Shanice Smith aka SHAN SMILE arrived on stage with her guitar and the trademark smile that gave her the name. Her music also instantly puts a smile on those listening too. She kicked off with the first of two cover, a mash-up of SADE's 'Stronger Than Pride' and SOLANGE's 'Cranes In The Sky' before performing a couple of tracks from her recently released 'Prisoner Of Hope' EP ('I Need You' & 'Prove You Wrong') before undertaking another cover of the BOB MARLEY's classic 'Turn Your Lights Down Low' which highlights her love and heritage in reggae music.
The audience demanded more so as not to disappoint Shanice performed her signature tune, the effortlessly happy and uplifting 'Shan Shan Smile' leaving everyone with that smile firmly in place.

So what of our host? BEE BAKARE had been patiently waiting in the wings, introducing the other acts but now was her own time to shine. Originally from Bath but now based in London the singer/songwriter unleashed her lush velvety tones with some tracks from her forthcoming 'Brighter' EP including the title track and 'Waiting To Happen' along with an older track 'Permission'. Her own cover came in the form of one of her biggest inspirations INDIA ARIE and her beautiful track 'Ready For Love'. Again the crowd insisted on more so BEE encored with a cover of a song by another of the women that inspire her (and with whom she bares many similarities) TRACY CHAPMAN and a classic from her seminal debut album, the anthemic 'Talkin' Bout A Revolution', a real crowd pleaser that had everyone singing along.

And that was a wrap but it was a successful end to a fabulous night (and did we mention a sold out one too?)

Sounds like your kind of thing? Well do not despair as it is set to become a monthly event and the next show is on April 6th.

See the Facebook event page here for more information or visit SOUL STRIPPED SESSIONS on

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