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Review: Laura Mvula, Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

British soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula was in town at the Tyne Theatre. Chiara Giordano went along to catch her performance

British soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula
British soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula

A shoeless Laura Mvula dominated the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre’s stage wearing black shorts, a loose brown jumper and a huge grin.

The 26-year-old Birmingham Conservatoire graduate was joined by the rest of her sophisticated sextet dressed in black.

Admiring the theatre, Mvula declared: “It’s a privilege to be playing here.” She then kicked off with Morning Dew from her debut album, Sing to the Moon.

Among the band members were the singer’s own sister and brother on violin and cello.

“They tell this story to the Press that I bully them into singing,” she joked. “They do want to be here. it isn’t true.”

Mvula’s playful personality shone out of the performance as she won the crowd over with her anecdotes.

Before playing Flying Without You, she confessed the song was written to help her get over someone.

“You know when someone says you’re a beautiful person? Yeah… what is that?” she laughed with her audience.

The energy in the room crackled as Mvula abandoned her keyboard to stun the adoring crowd with Is There Anybody Out There?’

“If you don’t sing with me I’ll look very silly”, she appealed to her fans who instantly invaded the aisles and danced along.

A rendition of One Love boomed out of the speakers and sparked a mass call and return as everyone clapped and sang along at the top of their voices.

The mood turned sombre as the band prepared to play Diamonds, a song Mvula wrote for a close friend who passed away.

Mvula’s strong ties to her roots were clearly delivered through the set’s fusion of jazz, gospel and pop.

The classically-trained artist carried off rich, soulful harmonies effortlessly and there was something genuine reflected in her flawless act.

The rest of the band matched Mvula’s energy and were all impressively multi-talented as they sang alongside her.

Aside from the violin and cello, a faultless drummer, harp and double bass also backed her.

After announcing that the Newcastle crowd was a pleasure to play for, we can only hope Mvula and her band visit again in the near future.

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