By the time her name was announced band members were in position. Doors opened as she walked commandingly with a look of focus painted on her face. She then got on the stage still sporting her ‘game-face’ as she kicked her shoes off.
Barefoot she walked towards the microphone adjusting it to accommodate her stature. Once the microphone was set, she turned back glancing at the drummer, speaking to him wordlessly. On cue the drummer softly began playing as she allowed the tunes to flow inside her body. The beat took over as she began to move her hands, hips, and legs escaping into her zone. She is ready.
In case someone in the audience was distracted-perhaps by a twitter update or a text message-and missed her entrance, there is no doubt the distraction ceased soon as she began to sing. Her crisp, soulful voice filled the venue grabbing hold of the crowd’s attention. Singing a love song in Portuguese, she took the crowd on a beautiful journey. She controlled her voice with grace singing softly and then projecting it. Once she was ready to come back down, she motioned to her drummer with her hands slowly descending. The tunes eased and came to an end, and she slowly looked toward the audience before cracking a beautiful smile. Coordinating with her band she grabbed her guitar and put her ‘game-face’ back on. She is ready for another ride.
Meklit Hadero’s performance this past Tuesday at (Le) Poisson Rouge located in New York’s Greenwich Village was captivating, sultry, and left the audience wanting more. The Ethiopian-born and San Francisco based artist has the making of a superstar and based on the rave reviews she has been receiving since the release of her debut album ‘On A Day Like This’ she is well on her way.
Meklit performed several songs from her new album and even trained the crowd, getting them to participate on the song titled ‘Walk Up’. The live rendition of ‘Leaving Soon’ was a lot faster than the original version and sounded like a song that could easily be heard on a mainstream radio station. ‘Abaymado’, an Ethiopian folk song made popular by Mahmoud Ahmed was one of her last performances. Meklit admires Mahmoud, an artist she never met, and told the crowd “If anybody knows him, just introduce me okay?”
At the end of the performance Meklit walked off the stage with her band to the sounds of unrelenting cheers. The host and organizer of the event, Somi, looked at the cheering crowd and asked “one more [song]?”
Meklit walked up onto the empty stage and stood alone. Smiling and staring at her band members who were standing off stage she beckoned, “Come up you guys!” and while looking at the audience said, “I am not going to play without them.”
Opening up for Meklit was The Olatuja Project. Lead by bassist Michael Olatuja with his wife Alicia on lead vocals, the band is African Jazz meets R&B. The band members connected together and shined as they allowed the music to take control.
The event was organized by New Africa Live, a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the very best of contemporary African artists through multidisciplinary live arts events. Host and founder Somi stated during the show “New Africa Live’s objective is to focus on the positive things that are coming out of Africa.” On Tuesday night at (Le) Poisson Rouge they did just that and much more.
Created with flickr slideshow.