Oi Va Voi,
with KT Tunstall
at Band on the Wall,
Manchester, England
(14 May 2004)

This really was a special kind of two gigs in one. Up-and-coming Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall was followed on stage by world music stars Oi Va Voi to whose set KT made a lively contribution, too.

KT's five own songs, extending to about 35 minutes in total, demonstrated her impressive vocal range, and her fun special effects pedal used in combination with voice, guitar and harmonica to create an instant backing sound. KT's singing has an appealing intensity not least in "Throw Me a Rope" -- a song released recently on 7" vinyl. It is a plaintive, yet sexy number. Her songs are a distinctive blend of alt pop/folk/country and there is no doubt she is a very fine songwriter as well as singer. Look out for her debut solo album later this year!

Oi Va Voi draw strongly on a Jewish musical heritage. The six-piece band is based around clarinet, trumpet, violin (marked by Sophie Solomon's upbeat -- even furious -- playing style), guitar, drums and bass, with two of the musicians adding male vocals. KT joined the band as a guest singer and greatly enhanced the set with her wonderful voice. The band fused a startlingly wide range of music: from Middle Eastern to even hints of reggae and indie; and from jazzy elements to contemporary clubby sounds that really got the audience up and dancing. It was all an exciting and appealing mix.

The band hit their stride early on with "Refugee" -- their album Laughter Through Tears' superb opening track also graced there, as at the gig, by KT's sublime voice. It was thrilling too to hear another funked-up version of the same song as an encore -- what a vibe! Other notable numbers included a Hungarian song (during which a spoken translation was an effective touch), and KT again in both "Ladino Song" (which also included some tremendous violin playing) and "Yesterday's Mistakes" -- another song of great passion.

The Band on the Wall's informal surroundings were highly suited to this fast-paced gig featuring one of the best rhythm sections around: Josh Breslaw on drums and Leo Bryant on bass. But it was KT though that stole the whole show. A five star gig all round!

- Rambles
written by Andy Jurgis
published 4 September 2004

[ visit KT Tunstall's website ]

[ visit Oi Va Voi's website ]

Buy Laughter Through Tears from Amazon.com.