Bathed in light which reflected the shape of her beautiful head and angular white keytar, Laura Mvula delivered her songs like she was giving a sermon. A pause after each lyric line provided the space needed to really get to the heart of the emotion. Songs from her albums ‘Sing To The Moon‘ and ‘The Dreaming Room‘ gave a glimpse into micro-worlds of dreams and poetry.
Like her idol, Nina Simone, Laura Mvula was also classically trained and influenced by Gospel. The Gospel influence was shown in her ability to transcend earthly injustices, like the failed ‘Tinder’ date that she described, and soar to an emotionally higher plane. Her unique voice and clarity of lyrics propelled the music to that place. Accompanied by her brother James on cello, her Birmingham roots were also firmly grounded.
This ability to reach inside and pull out the beauty, light and expansiveness that was there all along, despite the outside ugliness of modern society, demonstrated a level of consciousness that is sought for years by Buddhists and others who meditate. How special to be able to tap into those reserves and share the magic.
So what does it mean when she is cruelly and suddenly dropped by her record label by email? In ‘A Time For New Dreams’, 2011 , Rider, Ben Okri talks about how the failure to celebrate a nation’s writers is an indication of how psychically sick that nation is. Musicians represent freedom and like writers, have the creativity to dream new possibilities.
As she was telling the story of being dumped by the record label, some of the more mainstream members of the audience were leaving. If this woman who represents all the good nourishing stuff, creativity, awareness, the ability to tap into inner resources and the expression of profound emotion is being rejected from mainstream society…gawd help us all.