Gig review: Laura Mvula, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Laura Mvula
Laura Mvula
Share this article
Have your say

SINCE the release of her 2013 debut album Sing to the Moon, much has changed in Laura Mvula’s life – principally divorce, followed by further heartbreak.

Laura Mvula | Rating: **** | Oran Mor, Glasgow

“What can I say? I got some songs out of it,” she shrugged. So her adoring Glasgow audience were entirely supportive when she debuted a delicate new love song, hastily repurposed and retitled as Kiss My A***, with a bluesy vocal at the heart of the sensitive strumming.

Mvula is not wanting in talent, so improvisation is probably the least of her skills. Her arrangements – drawing on jazz, gospel, Afro pop and classical choral traditions - are sophisticated and striking, but often deceptively sparse. She can extrapolate music from simple handclaps, or cover Michael Jackson’s Human Nature with just her brother James backing her with a bare cello part.

Mvula is not really a pop writer and, if anything, the material from her forthcoming album The Dreaming Room is further out-there than before, more sonically interesting than melodically satisfying. Yet, despite the unexpectedness of her compositions, she has a knack for communication.

Being a choirmistress in her spare time, her vocal arrangements, as delivered by a trio of siren backing singers, were ravishing, but she couldn’t resist also roping in the audience for a number of singalongs - not the lusty terrace bellowing which usually passes for crowd participation at gigs, but rhythmic, repetitive reveries which had the room in raptures.

Like whisky? Take part and win with The Great Scotsman Whisky Survey