Nneka- Scala, 17/04/2012
With a growing in popularity brand of Soul, Hip Hop, Afrobeat & R&B, Nneka graced the stage at London’s Scala and echoed the reasons why she is mentioned in the same breath as Lauren Hill & Erykah Badu. With power collaborations from the likes of Nas, The Roots & Talib Kweli under her belt, it is now harder than ever hard to escape Nneka mania, especially as her record ‘Heartbeat’, is sampled on Rita Ora’s ‘R.I.P’ which is currently blasting out of every car and radio station in ear shot.
In 2005 Nneka released an EP titled ‘The Uncomfortable Truth’, which contained politically challenging & self-seeking lyrics as she aimed to connect & become one with the higher powers within her beliefs. Speaking in Pidgin English – a broken down form of English which was famously used by Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti – she introduced ‘V.I.P (Vagabond In Power)’ from her latest album ‘Soul Is Heavy’. V.I.P is a song that highlights the misleading of people by political leaders. With a Tony Allen style beat on the grove, it was pretty hard to resist shaking a leg, but it was impossible to do so as Scala was at its maximum capacity.
With her voice on form and rap delivery recalling the likes of Talib Kweli, Nneka got her guitar and strummed the chords to ‘Do You Love Me’. During this very powerful rendition, a rather unusual pause occurred for around 20 seconds. A split second longer and the crowd would have been left confused, but she belted out a note at the top of her voice in a captivating manner that recaptured the attention of everybody before steering the song home.
Sly & Robbie blueprints could be heard in the passing grooves as Nneka & band played numbers from ‘Soul Is Heavy’ of which (Metro) states “Soul Is Heavy, feels like her most mainstream production yet. That doesn’t mean she’s changed her characteristically serious tone; Nneka has tended towards weighty themes that sometimes jar with her sweet-and-light melodies”.
Nneka’s performance during the night was brilliant and as she left the stage, chants of her name reverberated through the venue. She graced the stage one more time to perform ‘Lucifer (No Doubt)’, the leading track which kicks of her album. The crowd which was made up of all creeds and demographics is a testament to Nneka’s message and how wide spread her quest for truth & self had reached.