When eagerness, illusion and a great taste are met we obtain as a result beautiful projects like this one: Voces Femeninas (Female Voices). In 2008 “Coconut Productions” embarked on this musical project whose dates always coincide with “The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” and where female artists, which have never played in Spain before, are the protagonists.
After the big the success and the warm welcome of previous editions in Vigo, this year “Coconut Productions” has added new dates in Madrid and Orense. And this success did not come by chance. The receipt is simple: a bunch of talented artists not very well known in our country, a really nice venue (the concerts are always celebrated in theatres), a very reasonable price (less than 22 €) and the opportunity to enrich our musical culture. Is there any better feeling than coming out from the theatre thinking that those 20 € you have just spend on your ticket were the worthiest ever? I do not think so. So if people really appreciate this iniative it is because there is a strong reason for doing it.
In this fifth edition the line-up was composed by the Irish Lisa Hannigan, the American Holly Miranda and the Canadian Little Scream. Delicate and deep voices, moving between the acoustic and folk styles, that paid tribute to one of the most important female voices of our time: Nina Simone.
Holly Miranda was in charge of opening the gig. She was not alone on stage. A piano and an electric guitar were her allies. Behind her fragile appearance there is a hard beginning in the music world. She grew up in a “close” musical environment where her parents only listened to Motown and Religious music. The rest was “forbidden”. Her passion about music started on an early age and her opening towards other genres came gradually. Influences like Curtis Mayfield or Joni Mitchell shape her style. She introduced her latest album, “The Private Magic’s Library”, and dazzled the audience with her sweet and emotional voice. Her concert, a simple affair with little ornamentation, was only a little sample of her great sensivity.
Little Scream continued with the show with only the rhythm of their feet beating the ground. An Afro-American chant by the hand of a blond and pale woman. After this particular opening, she was accompanied by a guitarist and delighted us with a tour by her last album “The Golden Record”. Elaborated compositions, reminiscences of folk and art-rock genres and a very personal music vision.
Lisa Hannigan was the last one to appear on stage. She is a true musical explosion: energetic, mild, profound and funny. She possess all the musical features to entertain and touch the audience. Songs of her last album “Passenger” were played that night with the presence of two of their band musicians: John Smith and Ross Turner. A beautiful concert where there was time for lively and danceable moments and other more intimate only accompanied by her unique voice and the sound of her acoustic guitar. She just oozes charm and talent. Totally recommendable.
For finishing the evening, Lisa, Holly, Little Scream and the rest of musicians played together a song of the night’s guest of honor: “Don’t let me be misunderstood” by Nina Simone. A smooth and perfect interpretation made the audience’s applause invade the theatre and they were compelled to show up on stage once again to play another great song cover: “The night they drove Old Dixie down” by the Canadian songwriter Robbie Robertson and popularly interpreted by “The Band”. This was really the cherry on the cake. Unplugged, with no amplification at all, they flattered our ears with careful vocal harmonies. They won the public over. And not only because of the musical perfection that we could enjoy that night, but for the comradership and the grateful feelings they showed between them, with the Festival’s organization and even with the audience.
Do not let “Female Voices” out of your sight, because I was able to interview Holly Miranda and Lisa Hannigan after the concert, so the articles will be ready shortly.
Photos: Nacho Iglesias