This is Laura Mvula’s first real run at festival season, and her early afternoon set in the relatively small Transmissions tent would befit any run-of-the-mill newcomer.
But Mvula is anything but ordinary, and her confidence in her vocal abilities and easy stage manner belie the fact that her debut album, Sing to the Moon, was only released in March.
Backed by a superb band comprising harp, double bass, violin and drums, Mvula starts her show seated at an electric piano, and the pace is a gentle introduction for some of the more bleary-eyed who are taking shade from the sun.
But when Mvula stands up to take the mic by the scruff of the neck, she begins to command the stage like a true band leader. Her inventive take on soul transcends the usual Radio Two easy-listening fodder, and she wins over the crowd with the a call-and-response segment of ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ and a brief version of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’.
The hip-shaking groove of her signature song ‘Green Garden’ raises the energy levels once again from what had been a sedate start, leaving few to doubt that she’ll be back on a bigger stage before long.