La Havas: the new Fitzgerald?

Lianne La Havas.
Lianne La Havas.
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Review by Malcolm Galloway

Harrogate International Festival, Lianne La Havas, Royal Hall, Harrogate.

One exciting aspect of any festival is the discovery of new talent.

One such talented person performing for the first time at the Harrogate Festival this year was the young English singer and songwriter, Lianne La Havas.

Her unique smoky rich and powerful voice simply wooed the audience in this visually well-presented and stimulating concert.

Her dry sense of humour was much appreciated. There was never a dull moment in this slick and well-organised production.

In the rather short first half, Lianne La Havas sang five songs for which she provided her own accompaniment on the electronic keyboard.

Here the somewhat challenging vocal lines were supported by a less adventurous but effective accompaniment. The accompaniment to the third song, Winter Rain, was quite descriptive.

La Havas accompanied herself on the guitar in the second half, supported by a small vocal backing group and rhythm section.

There was a symphonic touch to the design of the programme.

In most symphonies there is often a quiet slow passage before the final tutti.

Before the final group of songs in this concert, La Havas sang on her own a rather quiet and intimate ballad called Tease Me.

Listening to this remarkable young performer reminded me of another successful jazz ballad singer and songwriter, Ella Fitzgerald.

In many respects their respective styles were not dissimilar.