Expertly blending hip-hop with neo-soul, Washington, D.C., natives Thandiwe and Niambi Sala, who actually met at NYU, make what they call “Floetry meets Lauryn Hill meets Chief Keef” as the soulful R&B duo Oshun. “Niambi’s fast-punching lyricism weaves in and out of Thandi’s smooth, honey-like harmonies, creating something that neither one of them could have formed without the other,” says Fader. “The two friends use their music to share their reality, and no topic is left uncovered. Over subtle melodies that give a sense of steady calm, they expound upon current events, knowing your history, and the triumphs and tribulations of being young black women growing up in today’s society.” They put out several singles last year, including “Not My President.” And with their album, Bittersweet, Vol. 1, due to arrive, Oshun (above, performing “Gods” for KUTX FM), play the late show at Rough Trade NYC on Friday with High Class Hoodlums opening.
Tag Archives: Lauryn Hill
Lianne La Havas – The Bowery Ballroom – July 9, 2015
Nearly 3 years ago, I had the pleasure to see Lianne La Havas grace the stage at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom, performing for a growing fan base. Since then, her star has only risen, winning Album of the Year at iTunes UK for her 2012 debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, and providing backing vocals for a lil’ dude named Prince last fall on Saturday Night Live. She returned for another sold-out Bowery Ballroom appearance last night, on the heels of a soon-to-be released sophomore effort, Blood. Her latest work draws from a Jamaican vacation she took with her mother, reconnecting with relatives and, naturally, the famed dance halls of Kingston.
Opening with that album’s lead single, “Unstoppable,” La Havas displayed a groove reminiscent of Erykah Badu with a pop kick. She strapped on the bass for another new tune, “Green and Gold,” before returning to familiar material. Rattling off “but found myself in a secondhand guitar,” the British songstress strummed her mint green electric guitar for fave “Is Your Love Big Enough?” She managed to seamlessly appease with songs from her previous album while introducing new material from the upcoming one. Pairing the new and Lauryn Hill–tinged “Grow” with oldie “Age” demonstrated the sophistication she’s developed from simple ditty to a mature composition, which had the crowd singing along to a chorus of “Turn up for love.” To conclude her set, the rock-heavy “Never Get Enough” had the lass pounding her fists to the beat of the drums.
Not to end the evening short, opener Keenan O’Meara joined the headliner for another new track, “Wonder.” The band returned for the debut of her latest single “What You Don’t Do,” which had echoes of Aretha Franklin’s soul. When La Havas announced the last song, fans booed but were quickly relieved with the knowledge that she would be returning to Terminal 5 in September. Although the night ended with “Forget,” the performance won’t be wiped from anyone’s recollection. La Havas is now a star rather than a rising one, and there will be no sophomore slump as her latest record will only add to her fame. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Aretha Franklin, Blood, Bowery Ballroom, Erykah Badu, Is Your Love Big Enough?, Keenan O’Meara, Lauryn Hill, Lianne La Havas, Live Music, Music, Prince, Review, Sharlene Chiu
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Laura Mvula – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 4, 2013
Neo-soul songstress Laura Mvula has quietly made a name for herself across the pond, but she’s recently found admirers Stateside, including NPR’s Stephen Thompson. He wrote, “The U.K. singer’s sonic ambition is boundless: Her intricately layered songs straddle genres, locations and eras in ways that sound entirely original.” If you’re a fan of Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill or Erykah Badu, Mvula should have already filed into your Spotify queue. Her classical training allows her to mold every inflection into a timeless voice that seems to effortlessly narrate romantic epics. She’s the like the James Earl Jones of song telling.
With an introduction of “Like the Morning Dew,” Mvula descended upon the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage last night dressed in a long hooded army green anorak. Armed with a trio of strings, drummer and a harpist, the Brit’s choral-like arrangements filled the cozy venue. She admitted the last time she was there was to see Michael Kiwanuka. Not bad company to keep with their similar soulful repertoire. Mvula kicked off her white heels, performing “Is There Anybody Out There” barefoot before smoothly making the transition into Bob Marley’s “One Love,” with the crowd immediately joining in on the chorus.
Oddly, her delivery of “Sing to the Moon” reminded me of an unrelated artist, Lana Del Rey. Mvula proceeded to perform “Diamonds” and “Father, Father” solo to a completely enamored audience. It was so quiet that only the rustling of the air conditioner could be heard before, picking up the tempo and mood, Mvula got the crowd clapping along to the upbeat “Green Garden.” As though the end were flipped to the beginning of the set, the crescendo-heavy opening of “Make Me Lovely” was worthy of a Bond-film title sequence. Unprepared for an encore, Mvula and her brother, James Douglas, on cello delighted fans with a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” While singing “Reaching out/ To touch a stranger,” she received a bouquet of flowers from a fan front and center. It’s safe to say they won’t be her last floral brava. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Bob Marley, Erykah Badu, James Douglas, James Earl Jones, Jill Scott, Lana Del Ray, Laura Mvula, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, Michael Kiwanuka, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Review
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Rock the Bells – South Island Field at Governors Island – August 28, 2010
With less than a month remaining in the summer, many of hip-hop’s living legends and cunning contemporaries assembled on South Island Field at Governor’s Island for the seventh annual Rock the Bells. Thousands dressed in Wu-Tang Clan T-shirts and tank tops took the short ferry ride to the festival grounds where thousands more crowded around two stages to share in the American pastime of hot dogs, lemonade and blunts. With so many great acts to see and ridiculous people watching, the following is a list of the best moments at this year’s festival:
Best Underdog: Brother Ali, the self-proclaimed, “Fat-ass Muslim, albino rapper,” used his competing set time with KRS-One to captivate his loyal audience. Although the sun’s unforgiving rays seemed to deep-fry the MC, Brother Ali fought back with fierce rhymes, preaching tolerance and thoughtfulness. You came for the Minnesota rapper but you stayed for DJ Snuggles, the multitalented 22-year-old who spun, beat-boxed and even rapped on Brother Ali’s beats.
Best Looking Tent Food: Sweet corn cakes with mozzarella. I didn’t get them but I’ll be damned if I didn’t ogle the precarious sounding treats every time I walked past the tent.
Best Extended Breakdown: More than a decade after The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Ms. Lauryn Hill played Rock the Bell’s main stage with a full band, backing singers and an outfit somewhere in between Little Miss Muffet and a church lady. It was a treat to see her perform such songs as the Fugees’ “Ready or Not” and “How Many Mics,” however the best moments came when versions of “To Zion” and “Fu-Gee-La” spun into a pageant for friends and family members. Highlights included Hill calling all her children to the stage as well as Chris Rock, Jay-Z and a very pregnant Alicia Keys.
Best in Show: A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan (tied). Call me biased, but how can you top New York City’s two legendary hip-hop groups playing their classic albums? You can’t, and that is why the Queens and Staten Island natives drew the largest and most devoted crowds at the festival. Q-Tip and Method Man played frontman to their respective group’s sets, both coming out into the crowd for their go-for-broke performances. Personally, I give the slight edge to A Tribe Called Quest solely for Busta Rhymes’ ground-shaking cameo during “Scenario.” However, the late ODB’s son Boy Jones’ flawless impersonation of his father during Wu-Tang Clan’s set is a very close second. —Jared Levy
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com
Tags: A Tribe Called Quest, Brother Ali, DJ Snuggles, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Photos, Review, Rock the Bells, Snoop Dogg, South Island Field at Governors Island, Wu-Tang Clan
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Get ready to Rock the Bells. If you like hip-hop, you’ll love this because it’s not just any old music festival. It’s a day filled with some pretty amazing stuff. Snoop Dogg will be performing Doggystyle, the album that put him on the map, in its entirety. (See him, above, doing “Gin and Juice” from that album.) Plus A Tribe Called Quest will be playing their critically acclaimed third disc, Midnight Marauders. Pretty great, right? But there’s plenty more: Lauryn Hill, who’s been earning raves for her set, will be doing some of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill alongside Fugees hits. And then there’s Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr’s DJ Premier (honoring Guru), Rakim, KRS-One, Slick Rick and the list goes on. Find out how deep for yourself on Saturday at South Island Field at Governors Island.
Tags: A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Premier, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Preview, Rakim, Rock the Bells, Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, South Island Field at Governors Island, Video, Wu-Tang Clan
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Rock the Bells comes to South Island Field at Governors Island on Saturday. And if you want to see the likes of Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan and Lauryn Hill, you’re in luck because The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to Grow a Pair? It’s easier than you think. Just fill out the form below, including your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Rock the Bells, 8/28) and a brief message explaining what Wu-Tang means to you. Eddie Bruiser, who claims to be friends with RZA, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.