Music review: Josephine Oniyama, The Tabernacle, London
Friday 19 April 2013
Mancunian born Josephine Oniyama is a welcome addition to the new music scene with her folky, neo-soul songs that captivate with their honesty and maturity.
Having started playing at the age of twelve, she has had a long time to grow into an undeniably gifted musician. Now that her career is taking off, thanks to a stint on Jools Holland, favourable album reviews and tours with Paloma Faith, her self-assured stage presence is naturally confident and charming.
The Tabernacle has drawn a nice crowd who fall respectfully silent as Josephine starts with ‘I Think It Was Love’. Bold and reflective, her songs are tantalisingly fresh, drawing the listener in with their lyrics. There are elements of Joni Mitchell’s songwriting in the conversational yet deeply reflective tone and Josephine pronounces each word respectfully, with the elegance of a young Shirley Bassey.
"A Freak A" is next, praising the act of putting on a brave face in front of the harshest of critics. “My album’s only 38 minutes long and this is an hour set, so I’ve got to play some that aren’t off the album”, she says apologetically in her soft Manchester accent. From weighty ballad, "Salt Lake", Josephine takes on a smoother, sultry cover of Cat Power’s "The Greatest" , soulful and moody against the slightest guitar picks from guitarist, Steve Marsden.
"Portrait" and "Last Minute" are smooth and controlled with a powerful tone of Mahalia Jackson. Josephine can project the most delicate of ballads to the back of the room with one lowly guitar and no theatrics. "What A Day" and "Pepper Shaker" are up-tempo with western twangs and she devotes an entire song to her cherished memories of Manchester. "One Princess of Cheetham Hill" straddles nostalgia and the melancholy more associated with The Smiths.
At times you can hear potential in her choruses for a bigger, poppier, beefed up and dumbed down sound that would sell well to Adele and Emili Sandé fans. Thank goodness, then, that Josephine has the common sense to stick to her guns. Dignified and relaxed, her spare music offers something fresh and mature.
Arts & Ents blogs
The Full Monty to close in West End after one month despite Olivier nomination
Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on acting one-handed and why Jaime Lannister is not so bad
Halle Berry's X-Men: Days of Future Past role cut down to one scene
Game of Thrones star Sibel Kekilli on why she wants more male nudity in the show
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers