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.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
Arts & Ents blogs
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- < Previous
- Next >