Laura Mvula at NonComm

Laura MvulaOn the last day of the 2013 NonCommvention, Laura Mvula takes the stage around 7:30 PM. She and her band enter to a collection of instruments that have not been seen this week, which include a harp, cello, and upright bass. They all take their places at their respective instruments, and Mvula says hello and thank you to everyone in her smooth British accent.

Her fingers roll over the keyboard during her first song. The soul singer’s sweater falls off her shoulders, making her beautiful black and white dress more prominent. The song concludes with the help of backup vocals from her band, and she informs the audience that it’s her brother on cello as they share a quick smile.

The next song is “Let Me Fall.” She pulls her sweater as she laughs and says “This is my husband’s favorite song. Actually it’s the only song he’s liked that I’ve written, so I have to play it.” The crowd joins in her laughter as the drums kick the song off. “Flying Without You,” a track from her brand new debut album, Sing to the Moon, follows. During this song a band member to Mvula’s right exchanges his instrument for a trumpet, and he absolutely kills it throughout the song.

Mvula continues to chat with the crowd throughout the set. This is actually her first short tour in the United States, and her first time in Philadelphia. She’s a little disappointed when she says “I haven’t yet had my cheesesteak.” This leads into her song “She,” the first single from her 2012 EP of the same name. The song is starts with beautiful vocal layers and harmonies that are laid out for a while before the drums drop. The next song is the title track from her debut album, “Sing to the Moon.” Mvula sings, “Sing to the moon and the stars will shine/ Over you, heaven’s gonna turn the time.” The smooth lyrics and melodies are complimented by the bass and drums.

The first single off of Sing to the Moon comes after. Before she goes into it she says, “Feel free to clap your hands, get up on stage, take the mic from me. Song is called

‘Green Garden.’” The crowd willingly agrees to clap through the whole song, but refrain from taking the microphone away from Mvula. The final song of Mvula’s set that evening is “That’s Alright.” It begins like a swing song, with a drum line similar to the famously covered “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman, before the rest of the band chimes in, turning it into a soul song. It’s the perfect song to end the set, and Mvula exits the stage with a smile on her face and the crowd cheering.

By Anthony Cantone Heinze

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