Review of Snowpoet and Olivia Chaney

Turner Sims intern Sabine Russell, reviews the recent Snowpoet and Olivia Chaney double bill…

On 11th May I attended the Double Bill concert featuring classically trained, folk singer Olivia Chaney and the London-based band Snowpoet. I had been eagerly anticipating this performance for quite some time. As a singer myself, I am always particularly interested and drawn to the prospect of a performance from a vocalist and as an evening fronted by two prominent female vocalists, my expectations for this concert were building… and it did not disappoint.

For the first half of the concert we heard music from Olivia Chaney joined by her two incredibly talented musicians. She played music from her upcoming album Shelter (out on 15th June) along with some favourites from her first album, The Longest River. To begin her set we heard Roman Holiday; a single out now and a track on her new album. The melancholy atmosphere of this song really drew the audience in and we became entranced by her rich and emotive voice. Letting us into her writing process and the somewhat tumult of touring life, Chaney disclosed that the majority of this album was written in a secluded cottage in Yorkshire with little in the way of amenities, no internet, not even an indoor toilet… This period of reflection and focus is clearly heard in her writing; often writing in a pastoral tone, we are brought away from the little things in life we may focus on too much, and can learn to appreciate the simpler things such as nature. A particular highlight for me was when Chaney sang a folk rendition of O Solitude by Purcell. As a classically trained singer, Chaney brings many influences from 18th Century pastoral song and literature, but to hear this brought more into the folk realm was unique and delightful. As we wait with anticipation for the release of her new album Shelter, we can not only revisit her previous records but also remember this evening of sensational folk music, which captivated the audience.

Following the interval, we enjoyed sensational music from Snowpoet, led by the award winning Irish vocalist Lauren Kinsella (2016 JazzFM UK Vocalist of the year) and British multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson. With an eclectic spread of incredibly talented musicians, we are evolved in the jazz sound world. The various textures provided by the saxophone, piano, Nord keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, violin, cello and vocals enraptured the listeners in all the conveyed emotions. A personal favourite of mine was when Matthew Robinson used a series of pedals and synths to harmonise Kinsella’s vocals in Dear Someone. The sound was incredibly exposed however with such complex harmonies, many ‘jazz faces’ were appearing in both the band and the audience! Snowpoet create a warm and delicate sound, enlaced with ear-catching hooks in the vocal line allowing the music to have a sense of familiarity and wholeness within the complex jazz. Snowpoet have earned a well-deserved space in my current music listening repertory and I’m most excited to see what new music they produce in the future. If you haven’t listened before, Thought You Knew can be enjoyed on all major music platforms.

This concert provided an incredibly effective escape from the busyness of everyday life, successfully capturing the attention of the audience. I will be keeping up to date with these artists in the future and can’t wait to see the new music they create.

Check out Turner Sims’ new Autumn 2018 Season here

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