- Lorna Irvine
- 5 June 2019
Afro-futuristic soundclash takes Grace Jones as its muse
Inspired by Grace Jones' classic theatrical A One Man Show, black-clad singer/dancer Nora Chipaumire certainly has the imperious countenance of Jones in her Sly and Robbie-produced prime. Using Jones' cover of 'Private Life', she demands that the crowd dance, while busting out impressive shapes with dancer Shamar Watt who winds, kicks and weaves in a tutu. Chipaumire inverts Gil Scott Heron's 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', yelling in evangelist style, 'The revolution comes from you'.
DJs Atiyyah Khan and Philip White provide live mixes which fuse noise and dubs into a hot soundclash. Chipaumire references the 1980s and the rise of capitalism, chanting, 'Mrs Thatcher, Mr Reagan, Perestroika' before cheekily adding,'Theresa May?' This is a nod to our global concerns around right wing domination, and the resistance through queer art.
It takes a while for the audience to melt, as the space is generally associated with theatre shows. Yet Chipaumire and Watt are irresistible ringleaders. 'My Jamaican Guy' is repurposed as 'My Zimbabwean Guy' with an extended, teasing intro, and the sexual innuendo of 'Pull Up To The Bumper' is diluted when the pair produce a skateboard and cheekily perform tricks.
It's a fun, brash but intelligent set which reminds the assembled of the immediacy of pop music, but also how artists like Grace Jones transcended the mainstream and broke gender and racial barriers.
Part of Take Me Somewhere at Tramway, run ended.