A few nights ago at Pizza Express Jazz in the heart of London’s Soho I was privileged to witness one of the outstanding performances of the last few years courtesy of the vocal trio known simply as LaSharVu. The group consists of LaDonna Harley-Peters, Sharlene Hector and Vula Malinga (hence the La-Shar-Vu) and between them they have been performing backing vocals (either live or in the studio) for some of the worlds biggest musical names including Sam Smith, Mary J Blige, Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson, Corinne Bailey Rae, Emeli Sande, Alicia Keys, Mark Ronson, Madonna, Primal Scream, Grace Jones, Laura Mvula, Sam Sparro, Clean Bandit and Sam Smith – and both Sharlene and Vula have been lead featured vocalists for Basement Jaxx for the last decade. So before I arrived at the trio’s debut gig I was pretty certain that I would be in the presence of vocal musical royalty – and, trust me, I was not proved wrong.
Anticipation was raised when it was discovered that the night was being live-streamed around the world and most were pretty certain that stateside musical royalty would, more than likely, be tuning in.
After an uplifting opening number, which got the crowd rocking, the trio followed up with numbers from some of their favourite artists including Janet Jackson, Brandy, Corinne Bailey Ray, Emeli Sande, Sam Sparro, Coldplay, Lalah Hathaway, Omar and the Basement Jaxx – as well as a few self penned originals. The thing to note here is that this was not a concert of pop covers, this was a collection of tunes that had been completely soulfully re-arranged and then delivered in a completely soulful and incredible fashion. If that wasn’t perfect enough the real magic happened with the delivery, by these three gifted and talented musical angels, of the most mouth watering, honey dripping, three part harmonies you are ever likely to hear in a thousand lifetimes.
The warmth between these ladies, via the witty banter etc., and the confidence and trust they all had in each other’s vocal performances was evident for all to see – and that, I suspect, can only come from a working relationship borne out of true friendship which is the glue that binds these three together so beautifully.
Special mention must go to PR and music management guru Fran Hardcastle for organising this very special night and for helping these ladies get a platform.
For me this night was every which way perfect and you can guarantee you will find me front and centre at their next gig taking place at the Rah Rah Room Piccadilly London as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival on Wed 16th Nov 2016.
Make sure you reach.
Author: Tony Minvielle (SoulandJazz.com / Jazz FM)