Blessed Souls UK Showcase @ Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London WC1H 9EU
In 2007, Blessed Souls UK started as an open mic night to give artists a platform to perform in front of a live audience and build a community that supports each other. Over the years support has seen the event grow and include artists such as Omar MBE, Don E, Kele Le Roc, Isaiah-Raymond Dyer, Ruth Brown, Jaz Ellington, Andre Melody Palmer, Rachel Kerr, V9 Collective, Floetic Lara and Sherry Davis to name a few.
This Sunday event started at 7.30PM as advised with a group of musicians known as a ‘The Mac Band’ which included a saxophone, bass guitar, drums, keyboard and an electric guitarist playing some laid back rhythm and blues soul. The show was introduced by the event organiser, Adelaide Mackenzie, who surprised us by singing a song she’d written with great harmonies and was a slow soulful track. Adelaide has a strong voice as well as a confident presence and encouraged some audience participation to help the crowd relax.
Anthony Lorenzo spoke to the crowd and promoted his book ‘God Is Not Good’ (a self-development book). He bravely started his set with Luther Vandross ‘Never Too Much’, and of course the audience joined in the singing. A Musiq Soulchild track slowed the vibe down.
Natalie Phillips declared her Christian faith with a track ‘Jesus in the Middle’ that had a rock soul high energy that woke up the audience. She wrote the next track ‘I Need You’ about how her faith helped her in dark times and this track was a dramatic lyrically spiritual, heavy rhythm bass and drums that took us to a crescendo. Natalie introduced her husband on stage to play acoustic guitar to support her singing. The two of them caused the crowd to intently listen to their beautifully serene sounds.
Omari Banks from Anguilla played his acoustic guitar with a slow reggae rhythm and started with a track ‘Unafraid’, which was a love song. He told us the next track was one he sang with Peter from Morgan Heritage (a reggae band). He spoke to the crowd about hopes and dreams. His final track to us, ‘Bruised Inside’, was an acoustic track that had deep emotional conscious lyrics. Adelaide got on stage with Omari for an impromptu duet.
The next act was Lovella Ellis, the daughter of late Alton Ellis (reggae star). Her set had a gentle reggae style to it. Lovella gave us a lively performance and her voice sounded great, especially on harmonies. She livened us all up with a call and response of Sean Paul track ‘I’m Still In Love With You’ and told us about her released EP ‘I’m Getting Stronger’.
Jahmari is a reggae singer who uses various rhythms but gave us a taste of his bashment style that was an uplifting celebration of faith and had us dancing. His fun performance created an energetic vibe. His conscious lyrics were spiritual and confirmed his faith as well as gospel roots.
Aaron Sokell is a singer who also supports other artists like Emeli Sande but joined the Blessed Soul UK to give us a solo performance which included a harmonised track by Anthony Hamilton, which he sang with ease and passion.
At this event, there were a number of birthdays being celebrated by Adelaide and others who were invited on stage so we could sing Stevie Wonder ‘Happy Birthday’. They also received individual cakes with candles and were given goody bags.
Rachel Kerr and her band took over the stage. She started with an acoustic track that was gospel inspired which she performed with high energy soul. Rachel’s voice was so powerful and loud, her microphone should have been turned down so that we could appreciate the quality of her voice.
There was an after party to continue with the birthday celebrations. The number of unsigned soul artists at this event highlighted the need for independent live showcases so that serious artists can be supported. Blessed Soul UK showcase soul music regularly and look set to grow and will hopefully continue to introduce us to new talent.
The next showcase is at same venue on Sunday 26th April 2015.