Monthly Archives: November 2009

A quiet presence

(written at Poetry Unplugged, at The Poetry Cafe)

It’s been a long time
Since I last saw him
I think maybe
I’d missed him, a bit
Certainly that quiet presence
You can almost hear the words
Before he voices them

His hair’s a bit longer
But he still looks the same,
I think
He has ‘lovable soul’
Written all over his face
Which hasn’t aged
He looks happy.

Naturally 7

So, I went to see Naturally 7 at the Theatre Royal Straford East last night, and they Blew. Me. Away.

Seriously, this wasn’t just a performance, it was a complete sensory experience, I was totally lost in it and came out on a real high so I wanted to share it with you.  If you have seen these guys perform live before you already know what I’m talking about, and if not, then let me tell you what you’re missing!

To put it simply, Naturally 7 make music with their voices.  But to put it simply wouldn’t do it justice.  To call it a cappella would be wrong (although they do this too, on occasion), and to say that they sing and beatbox just wouldn’t be enough.  They don’t make the beats with their voices, they become the beats.  They call this Vocal Play.  To find out more about how they describe it, and how they got to be doing what they now do, check out their official website.

For now, let me tell you about last night.  I must first of all give a special mention to their support act, Krystle Warren (she described herself as ‘the opener’), who had a lovely energy and had the audience engaged before she even said anything.  Then she sang some beautiful songs, just her and her guitar, and told some jokes (she was really funny), ending with an audience participation number ‘Forget me not.’  Well it worked – I won’t be forgetting her in a hurry!  Then, after the interval, Naturally 7 filled the stage.  In a word, they were amazing. If any of you have ever seen them live, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I spent the first few minutes looking for the hidden instruments! Then I just got lost in the show.

All of the guys can really sing, and they all do, but I would draw special attention to Warren, Rod, Garfield and Jamal whose voices I found particularly powerful, and to Dwight, who not only has the widest vocal range, he also serves as the groups drum set!  You have to see it to believe it.  But they are all great – Jamal’s electric guitar riffs had me hallucinating that he actually had a guitar (he clearly didn’t), and when Rod started to sing, then rewound the record, and replayed it back with some scratching thrown in…  Wow.  And of course there’s Roger,  singing, rapping, and the catalyst for the group getting together in the first place – you can see how he holds it all together.

You may have noticed that I have only mentioned six of the guys so far…  That’s because I like to save the best for last.  “Hops” Hutton, ‘plays’ the bass.  Now, the bass is always my favourite part anyway, to me it’s just so big and strong and sexy.  If I’m honest, I didn’t pay much attention to Hops to start with, and then I realised he was the bass, and suddenly, he looked bigger, and stronger, and..  yep you’ve guessed it.  Judging by the response of the ladies (and a few of the men) in the audience every time he spoke, I wasn’t the only one thinking this way.  This man’s bass is so powerful, that halfway through the set, he blew a speaker.  At this point I turned to my fiance and said ‘If I meet him, I might have to leave you and run off with him.’  To which he nodded and smiled – he understood.  Yes, Hops is that good.

So, if you’re not already looking for tickets to go see them, go check out some dates now! See when they’re in your area and make sure you get a good seat ’cause you’re going to want to see everything.  If you still need convincing, check out their Paris metro youtube video, which has already had over four million (that’s right, four million) views, and be converted.

And if you like your bass sexy, then just for you – here’s a ‘Hops’ Hutton solo.

Just Be

‘Change a little, Change a lot.’

‘If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.’

‘Be the change you want to see.’

But which of these mottos is right, for me…?

For today, my own words are:

Just Be

Just be… Me…

And the more of me I am, the more fulfilled I can begin to feel.

In the words of Bukola,

‘..worst critic is me, and I say I’m good enough’*

What are your words of motivation today?

*from ‘To Whom It May Concern (feat JR)’ from the album Which Way

Berets, and all that jazz…

At lunchtime
We talked of jazz clubs
And those pretentious intellectuals
Finger clicking
In a haze of smoke

Wearing berets and
Attaching unnecessary meaning to music
That needs no explanation
Because, we all agreed
The music simply speaks for itself

I saw a girl on the tube that night
Wearing a purple beret
I heard finger clicks in my ears
And wondered whether she thought
My notebook was pretentious.