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Sampha review – a polite, pulsing performance cuts to the core | Musique Non Stop

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sampha review – a polite, pulsing performance cuts to the core

Electric Brixton, London
Selling out venues even before his debut album is out, the British songwriter’s distinctive vocals are a brand of their own

Sampha’s always been about the voice. Diehard fans may have been following the 27-year-old producer and musician’s work since his 2010 Sundanza EP, but most listeners will know him more for the husky vocals slathered like a soothing paste on to other people’s singles. Whether adding depth to Jessie Ware’s 2013 single Valentine, landing the emotive suckerpunch on Drake co-write Too Much or lending longtime collaborator SBTRKT’s clubland tracks their hooks, Sampha’s distinctive vocal texture has become a brand of its own.

In between songs tonight, that voice is initially polite. After kicking off with forthcoming debut album opener Plastic 100°C, he thanks the crowd for being here and gives a quick shout out to friends and family – really, he sounds more like a respectful birthday party host than headliner of a sold-out show on home turf. But once he and his band launch into their thumping, electrofunk rendition of Under, you remember just why he’s earned enough of a reputation to pack out a venue before he’s even released a solo album. He has a beautiful knack for combining what was originally seen as a “nu-soul” sensibility with deeply personal lyrical themes that cut right into the wobbly core of our vulnerabilities.

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by Tshepo Mokoena via Electronic music | The Guardian
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