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Tiny Amy has a huge talent

Amy Winehouse, Northumbria University - Amy Winehouse, the first act to kick off the Orange Evolution festival, played to a mesmerised audience at Northumbria University last night.

Amy Winehouse, Northumbria University - Amy Winehouse, the first act to kick off the Orange Evolution festival, played to a mesmerised audience at Northumbria University last night.

Amy is a 19-year-old from North London whose influences range from Ella Fitzgerald to Mos Def.

Her style is difficult to compare, her music is a fusion of jazz, soul, funk, R&B and hip-hop styles and you get the feeling that she reveals a little bit of herself with each of her songs, which range from loud and brash to slow and mellow, but all are strangely uplifting.

The first thing that strikes you about Amy is how can such a powerful voice come from someone so tiny? Her voice belies her age and her husky North London accent is transformed into a sultry jazzy drawl. The music has an almost big band feel at times and encompasses an excellent brass section.

A particular favourite, You Sent Me Flying, reduced a previously noisy crowd to silence with emotive lyrics about unrequited love. "I can't work like this with you next to me ... I'm not as into you as I appear to be", which sent shivers down my spine, gave me goosebumps and sent the crowd into frenzied applause.

Another facet to her sound comes in the form of What Is It About Men?, which has a salsa feel to it with a fantastic guitar solo worthy of Carlos Santana.

It's easy to see Amy Winehouse thrives on live performances and enjoys the music and the crowd's participation. She speaks almost coyly to the crowd and dances seductively, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner, to an appreciative audience.

Listening to her is like a sensual experience for the ears, her music includes blasts of trumpet and trombone, the sexy wail of saxophone, bursts and crashes of cymbals, the slap of bass and twang of guitar, teamed with that voice which demands attention, it makes for a very powerful experience.

Amy's debut album, Frank, is out now and she's playing several festivals this summer. Seeing her would be worth the entry price alone.

A magnificent performance.

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