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Sampha @ Manchester Academy (23/11/16)

In an intimate setting, the mood was set perfectly for the London-based artist Sampha by the supporting act Kelsey Lu, who left the crowd in awe through her vocals and melodic cello playing.

One of the most pleasing parts of the night was the fact that Kelsey Lu did not only open the night for Sampha but also went on to give additional support on stage as an instrumentalist. This was nice to see as it was clear that the acts had toured together for a while, with cohesiveness in the performance oozing on the stage.

Sampha is one of the very few artists who can generate such excitement for a night with a back catalogue which is arguably limited. With high anticipation surrounding his release for his debut album, it was only right for the talented singer opened the night with his latest releases by performing “Plastic 100ºC” and “Timmy’s Prayer”, which certainly did not disappoint.

This performance by Sampha felt like an introduction and glimpse into what is to come from his highly anticipated debut album, and if this is anything to go by, Sampha fans are in for a breathtaking album. With all the new music being premiered on stage to the Manchester crowd, it was when Sampha performed popular single “Too Much” which brought the crowd together and showed exactly why there is such hype surrounding Sampha. 

Sampha’s voice holds a natural emotion which complemented the venue’s intimacy and the melodic support for Kelsey Lu and his band perfectly. When he performed “Blood on Me”, the support from not only the band but also the crowd allowed a tropical electronica to be applied to the song, which was a pleasant and unique addition to the studio version of the song.

Emotion mixed with lyrical mystique made this night memorable. If the songs performed on the night are anything to go by, then his new album will showcase a never-seen-before Sampha – a Sampha who is more open and expressive. The night was unforgettable and the crowd were left with the gratitude and satisfaction knowing that the album is going to be a special one.

Kuda Mushangi

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