Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Sounds of Summer ’14: The Novel Ideas & Wambura Mitaru
The @Kendall_Square Summer Concert Series took the audience on an eclectic journey from Africa to the countryside with Wamburu’s Kenyan soul to the folk country sounds of The Novel Ideas. The acts offered two very different but lovely and pleasing sounds of summer.
The Novel Ideas
Folk Country quintet, The Novel Ideas, ease into their set with mellow tunes and tight harmonies. The outfit features Daniel Radin on acoustic guitar, Danny Hoshino on electric guitar, James Parkington on bass and Nick Mitchell on drums. Vocalist Sarah Grella, who rounds out the group, shared singing duties with Daniel, Danny and James. In the same vein as contemporary folk favorites, The Lumineers, engaged the lunchtime crowd with a foot-tapping set that transported listeners to imagery of sun-drenched countrysides and other soulful places.
The Novel Ideas sang a several original songs off their latest album, Home. The somber song “Montana” captured a sense of longing and love with lyrics like, “I don't know where to begin, but I know you're too good for him.” Blending hopeful numbers (“Back and Forth I’ll Go”) with crowd-pleasing, quintessential folk hits (Bob Dylan’s, “Girl from the North Country,” Jackson Browne’s “Runnin on Empty”) The Novel Ideas delivered a subdued, poignant performance that left the audience supremely satisfied and relaxed.
Wambura Mitaru lit up the stage with African-influenced funk and soul, taking the audience on a ride from the summery #KendallSquareConcertSeries to the shores of her native Kenya. Wambura’s soaring vocals and funky neo-soul tunes excited the crowd, while guitarist Juan Luqui’s smooth, jazzy riffs kept pace. Wambura’s music evoked a passion for her native land, but also skillful finesse, as she glided between Swahili and English lyrics without missing a beat.
From the start, the Kenyan songstress had the audience swaying in their seats, especially during “Dance,” an upbeat song marked by infectious lyrics infused with a distinct hopefulness. From “Shoulder, Brother, Sister, Me” to her popular tune, “Mala Mala,” Wambura showcased powerhouse vocals and incredible range. The crowd stirred when she sang the lovely lyrics, “I was calm, cool, collected until you came.” So was the @KendallSquare concert series – until Wambura came.
To hear more from Wambura, check out upcoming shows on her Facebook and on Twitter @WaburaMitaru.