20 October 2012

Girls' music

I’m from an era of feminism when any difference between the sexes was considered totally of nurture, not nature. We’re not so sure these days, and I may get in trouble for my boys’ music / girls’ music conceit, but Susana Sawoff was surely different from the Audiofeeling band that preceded her, and she was different in a very stereotypical way. Susana’s music was vocal more than instrumental, shared more than individualist, sung (strange, this) with two falsetto harmonies from her male bandmates, gentle not excessive, personal and internal not externalised. Here are a few lines: “Tell me my love is good enough / and I will believe in you”; “Let the world stay true”; “Stay for a while / may you voices rest / I will put on a smile / hide on your chest”. There was an influence of jazz, some gentle solos from piano and others, but to me this was more pop, with melodies and love songs and harmonies. Perhaps her choice of non-originals throws my conceit out the window. Her first cover was of a song by Tom Waits and I can only think of that rasping voice as front-bar male. Her other cover was introduced as from the best band in the world. I can only agree, at least in the world of popular music. She sang The Weight by the Beatles, much slower and open and harmonised and with some interesting variations on time and fills and feels. I wasn’t the only one who appreciated this. Excuse my conceit if you think of intensely personal matters as a thing of equal concern to both men and women, but it still seems to fall that way and I can only admire women for it. Women’s or not, this was a moving and gentle concert. Susana Sawoff (piano, vocals) led a trio with Christian Wendt (acoustic and electric bass) and Joerg Haberi (drums).

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