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Review: Lucibela at City Recital Hall

By Hamish Stening

Lucibela is today's Cesaria Evora; She is the undisputed queen of Cabo Verdean music. Whilst her City Recital Hall show felt more "club set" than "concert hall performance", her undeniable charm and beautiful voice were more than enough to have the audience literally dancing in the aisles.

She brought a small band with her to Australia: a lead guitar, a ukelele, a bass and kit. Each player oozed class and soul and were incredibly tight. It was clear that they have been playing together for a long time.

Then there was Lucibela's voice. Smooth and gentle, but powerful when necessary, and with pitch-perfect intonation. Her tone is her greatest strength and will receive the most plaudits but her musicality and pitch are equally incredible. She would sway and dance gently in between verses, signalling to the audience that it was okay to loose yourself in the music.

The concert was intimate -- deliberately so -- but this meant that there was a mismatch between the performance and the venue.

Licibela was very rarely well lit often performing in close to the same darkness the audience was in, and there was no great energy or razzle dazzle that a large space requires. Additionally, being in a room designed for unamplified classical music, there were sound design issues throughout. Lucibela's voice was distractingly muffled and some of the playing techniques typical of Cabo Verdean music (such as choking the guitar) did not cope well with being amplified enough to fill a large space.

Overall, this concert was intimate and charming, and it was a delight to hear Lucibela's beautiful voice live. The venue did come with drawbacks but the audience still enjoyed the performance and we hope that Lucibela decides to return to Australia in the near future.

Hamish at Lucibela

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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