Category Archives: Soul

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

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LaVance Colley sings Ariane Grande

great cover version lives its own life. As a child of the original, it carries DNA forwards, but shines on its own terms. You recognise the mother’s eyes or the father’s nose, but the face itself is new.

Watch Post Modern Jukebox smooth, slow and soulify Ariane Grande’s Focus until it sounds as if Ariane was covering a long lost Ray Charles number. What a difference LaVance Colley makes:

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Singing 3 gardens into life

When we moved to our new house, for us kids it was a huge huge big deal to have trees in the back garden. Where we had lived in Selly Park, the back garden was more concrete than grass, so it felt like we were in a forest. Some of my happiest memories are of endless summer holidays where it seems like we spent most of the time in the garden, making up dance routines or having mammoth waterfights. The song is a celebration of that.”                                Laura Mvula, speaking to the Birmingham Post

Say the English word garden out loud. Two equal syllables, neat and tidy. Now listen to Laura Mvula unzip that first syllable and pack it full of happy memories, of sanctuary and joy:

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Wringing the Exotic out of Golden Brown

When a white man sings about a brown girl, the word brown carries a complicated history. Think of Jagger’s Brown Sugar. Think of the Stranglers kneading and stretching the diphthong of plain old brown until it exhales into the exotic, sensuous ‘otherness‘ of Golden Brown.

Singer/songwriter Kizzy Crawford has different plans for both brown and golden, as a home-made antidote to the bullying she experienced as a child. How does she warm up the words, making them personal and precious, not exotically ‘other’? She stretches the diphthong of brown beyond anything the Stranglers imagined. Then, like spun sugar, she twirls brown into a shape that’s light and warm:

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