REVIEW: ELDA Trio – Album Launch at King’s Place

Emilia Mårtensson, Janez Dovč and Adriano Adewale of ELDA trio.
Photo credit Gierdre Cesnaite

ELDA Trio – Album Launch
(King’s Place. 22nd September 2016. Review by Leah Williams)

The transatlantic trio of Swedish vocalist Emilia Mårtensson, Slovenian accordionist Janez Dovč and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale are a new force to be reckoned with. Drawing on musical inspirations from their variety of cultural backgrounds and experiences, ELDA produces a full and uplifting sound that is both recognisable from its various distinctive elements, whilst also creating something completely new of its own. Launching their eponymous debut album, the trio treated us to a memorable celebration of cultures, musical heritage and life.

ELDA trio make for an interesting combination with a collection of instruments and backgrounds probably rarely seen together on stage. This “melting pot” of their respective musical styles and cultures is apparently simultaneously the result of and reason for this collaboration. They make it clear that this project wasn’t only a musical journey to see how their respective styles and sounds would come together, but had a larger purpose. As described by Adewale, this venture is about an “encounter of different cultures and noting not only the similarities but also respecting and celebrating the differences…which is important in times like this”.

The excitement and pure joy of their music-making remained dominant throughout and was truly infectious. From the way the instruments are set-up (in almost a music circle setting so they can all easily see and interact with one another) and the continuous grins and knowing looks they send to each other and out to the audience throughout, it is clear that not only is there a lot of love and respect there but that they are truly relishing every minute of finally seeing all their hard work and dreams for this trio come to life. The entire gig is high energy and whether a song is pure celebration or dealing with a more serious topic, the music never fails to be rousing. It’s the kind of music that gets every sense involved, leaving you with a stupid grin on your face and bringing goosebumps with every climax, which are both inevitably and organically built up to in each song but also somehow catch you by surprise.

The majority of the songs have been co-written by them all and this shows in the way that a consistent sound has been found amidst the many different styles and musical influences. They have drawn on folk tales and musical traditions from their varied cultures but then used these influences to push their music and style forwards to its own unique place, adding a few subtle electronic soundbites for a truly contemporary touch.

One of my personal favourites was Ellis Dreams, which Emilia Mårtensson introduced by explaining how one of the things they’d wanted to do with this music was to “tell stories that everyone can relate to” and then followed this by saying that perhaps not so many people would be able to relate to this one as she co-wrote it with a friend when they were drunk on red wine. The result is one of the most synergetic songs I’ve ever heard with a tipsy-topsy, fantastical, Willy Wonka style that makes you feel as though you’re right there with them, a few glasses down yourself! This aside, the majority of songs cover topics that will speak to all in the most poignant of ways, with lost love, displacement and a search for identity beautifully captured and communicated.

Who would have predicted that an accordion, a range of percussion instruments and pure, trandescent vocals could come together to create such musical magic? But this recipe does indeed make for one seriously tasty dish for the ears and the spirit. It is the kind of music that leaves you feeling alive and glad to be human (no mean feat sometimes these days and something we could all do with more of).

The scene had been nicely set by surprise support act, The Magic Lantern (aka singer/songwriter Jamie Doe), who set up a wonderful rapport with the audience. Not only was he at ease, he was also genuinely funny, delivering a seemingly natural mix of stand-up comedy and great acoustic folk music. His songs appeared deceptively simple but revealed a depth and life-experience that many will connect with. He even managed to produce a variety of sounds from his guitar – including one inspired by the African mbira (thumb piano) – using a few humorous props such as broken tent string and blu tac.

ELDA will be performing at the EFG London Jazz Festival in the Upper Hall (Bar) Union Chapel at 3 30pm on Nov 20th in a double bill with Fini Bearman. (DETAILS). The album ELDA Trio is released on Two Rivers Records.

LINK: ELDA Trio website

Categories: miscellaneous

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