Soul Mama to open in Stratford

Saxophonist YolanDa Brown OBE unveiled the location of her new restaurant Soul Mama on a livestream last night. It's on Celebration Avenue in Stratford, east London, on the ground floor of The Gantry hotel, part of the Hilton's Curio Collection.

Published: 17 Apr 2024. Updated: 35 days.

Saxophonist YolanDa Brown OBE unveiled the location of her new restaurant Soul Mama on a livestream last night. It's on Celebration Avenue in Stratford, east London, on the ground floor of The Gantry hotel, part of the Hilton's Curio Collection.

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Awen Ensemble, Cadair Idris, New Soil ***1/2

Named after a mythology rich peak of Snowdonia you don't have to be a Welsh speaker at all to appreciate Cadair Idris. Partly because beyond the Welsh lyrics that are further interspersed with spoken word in English there is plenty of instrumental …

Published: 17 Apr 2024. Updated: 35 days.

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Named after a mythology rich peak of Snowdonia you don't have to be a Welsh speaker at all to appreciate Cadair Idris. Partly because beyond the Welsh lyrics that are further interspersed with spoken word in English there is plenty of instrumental prowess on display - 'Ionawr' from Cadair Idris was a track of the week on marlbank in February. Leeds based, this ''alternative folk jazz collective'' - the word ''Awen'' in their name means ''poetic inspiration'' - is infused by Amy Clark's fine Lauren Kinsella-esque vocals and yet these are only one element in a portfolio of approaches that the band come up with. Guitarist Ruari Graham is certainly impressive on 'Idris' and when Clark sings in English on 'Unsettled' you'd swear counter intuitively that there's even an influence of Madonna in the timbre of her voice. 'Zorny' is the greatest of the tracks from a committed jazzhead's perspective. So, amen to an album that doesn't tightrope walk on eggshells among jazz and folk genres but proves more of the good mixer dipping in and out and not getting too hung up on what genre their explorations happen to land in. Ultimately the spoken word of 'Upon Leaving the Dream' - you can't but not think - is pure poetry.

Awen Ensemble play Brudenell Social Club, Leeds on 28 April.