Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rachael Calladine and Shay at Bahri Bar

I dropped by Bahri Bar at Mina A'Salam last week to enjoy one of the first regular gigs of the season: a Dubai-based duo of British singer Rachael Calladine (who contributed her musical talents to Kalubela last year) and Nigerian musician Shay (who recently featured in the first volume of local artists' collaborative album Sikka Score). The Arabesque-modern bar, with its soft lighting and relaxed ambiance, lends itself well to the performance of their jazz/soul/funk genre.

Calladine sang classic hits from various decades, as well as contemporary ones, mostly reworked along jazz and soul lines. It was a seemingly effortless vocal performance, featuring a good deal of improvisation and scat. While I am more used to her singing style going with jazz piano, Shay delivered great instrumental accompaniment, using a loop machine to electronically layer beats and tunes from his guitar. He also contributed a few commendable vocal performances. They both harmonized well in the final song of the night; I hope they include more opportunities to do this in future performances.

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