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Emeli Sande, The Songstress Griot - Performs at The Southbank

Photo Credit: Esther Austin Global

What an epic experience on Saturday 15th June at the Royal Festival Hall, as part of the festivities of The Meltdown festival, curated by Chaka Khan, at The South Bank.

This was one of those performances that took me back to a place of nostalgia, reminiscent of a scene from one of the 1950's classic Black and White movies.

The ambience for the evening was set. The stage, initially, empty, save for the instruments, which held regal simplicity. Reflector lights casting a stunning glow, like teardrops from heaven onto the stage. The band entered on stage (Drummer Hannah Montrose, Multi-instrumentalist Digby Lovatt and Keyboard Player, Nicky Brown),. There was a palpable holding of breath, and then she appeared, Emeli, Sande, Singer/Songwriter, holding presence and authority on her authenticity, which was to be the thread that ran throughout the evening, in the songs she sang, the essence of, her performance and in the sharing of her personal experiences, hopes and dreams. Emelie was our songstress griot for the night.

Video Credit: Esther Austin Global

The audience were mesmerised from beginning to end. I found myself glued to my chair, engaging often with bouts of head nodding, clapping and foot stomping. But most of all, I was comfortably spellbound,. As Emelie and her band sauntered through her repertoire of songs, like the piped piper, we, the audience, allowed ourselves to be lead down memory lane with Emelie as took us back to the very beginning with a song she wrote when she was 15, and then she meandered through Hurts, Heaven, Clown, Brighter Days, Read All About it.

Video Credit: Esther Austin Global

Each breath that spoke song through Emeli, as she played the piano, created an ease of space of ''not having to think', so it felt, however at the same time enabling contemplation of the deeper, richer and more purposeful experience of life (well for me anyways) as the magic of deep diving into her emotions, and singing life into those experiences gave her performance a refreshing uniqueness.. One that embodied the story telling of life, of love, of the true essence of humanity'.

Photo Credit: Pete Woodhead.

The band added to the fragrance of the evening,, an incredible body of skillset right there in one place, creating what was for me, a magical experience.

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