- Live Review
- 17 May 22
At the mural-covered Prince Albert pub, the most promising Irish musicians gathered to showcase the best up and coming talent..
After a pandemic-induced hiatus from live shows, Brighton’s favourite music festival, The Great Escape, returned last week, featuring some of Ireland’s best emerging artists.
There was a lot of buzz around Aby Coulibaly’s set and it was justified.
After she narrowly avoided hopping on the wrong flight, her opening set of the Music From Ireland showcase was sensational.
As soon as Aby hit the stage, a packed room in the Albert Prince venue was instantly enraptured by the Dublin singer’s overflowing magnesium.
Her voice is sonic silk. Beautiful, controlled, vibrant, with range and texture. And that’s not even mentioning her flawless rap flow that’s blended in between singing.
Her songs dealt with personal topics ranging from overcoming other people’s scepticism of her ability, weed (which she’s given up these days), Irish goodbyes, cheating fuck boys and women not supporting women: “Even if my ass is flat and my tits are pancakes, tell me they’re not, support each other,” she quipped.
Her talent is abundant and I couldn’t stop smiling for her entire set. My only criticism is I didn’t make it to her other gig at The Great Escape.
Next up was Afro-Irish artist Tolü Makay. With an infectious smile and a dazzling blue jumpsuit with matching blazer, she commanded a crowded stage of backup singers and full band.
Tolü’s opener was a breathtaking a cappella song ‘Atuwaba’, sung in Yoruba, her mother tongue. Written by Tony Allen, one of the founders of Afrobeat, it was the perfect welcoming to a stirring, soul-drenched set that showcased aspects of her Nigerian roots and Irish experiences.
The track ‘E.A.R.T.H’, delved in to the uncertainty of the pandemic and the urge to find another world with less chaos. ‘Me, Myself & I’ excellently rebutted any criticism of how Tolü should be or act – asserting her choices to pursue her musical career and personal journey.
Her final track ‘You Are Enough’, was the perfect uplifting anthem to end an effusive performance. The song’s gospel elements sprinkled with rock left the audience beaming.
Lastly, pop & alternative R&B artist EFÉ bounded on stage. The singer would not have been out of place standing next to Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez back in the day. The baggy '90s-style jeans, oversized striped tee and denim hat were a nostalgic fashion choice for the bold Dubliner.
Her music transports you through hazy feelings of laying on your back watching the clouds or dreamy sun-soaked days by the sea – not a surprise, as her debut EP was named What Should We Do This Summer?
The dreamy vibe continued with ‘Table For Two’, a drowsy bedroom pop tune – though its lyrics urge the listener to seize the moment and stop procrastinating: "Waste no time, no rewind/ You're all mine, It's all in your mind…"
EFÉ's vocals are doused in effects, pitch shifting her voice with echos and distortion. The resulting tranquility is bolstered by her guitarist playing slowed reverb-soaked riffs.
EFÉ debuted a new track ‘Rhythm’ – a soon-to-be-released feel-good anthem. The carefree chorus “I don’t care about you, I’m gonna live without you”, solidified the vibe-shift from the earlier melancholic tracks. By the end of the song EFÉ, her DJ, guitarist and bassist were all dancing around on stage, letting loose. A perfect closer that left the crowd grinning from ear to ear.