We could all use some uplifting and encouragement, so when a live music, poetry and spoken word event pops up with the name ‘Life & Soul’, you can expect it to do exactly what it says on the tin.
On Sunday 9th April, public relations and events company E. Stellar PR hosted its first live event at Toto’s Wine Bar in Bristol. Where “soul and inspiration collide”, the evening promised to “uplift, inspire, spread love, bring life and be 100% honest and real as artists share their truth”. Sounds good, no? I must reveal that I was part of the line-up, and I also happen to be sibling to the organizer, but here’s proof of my non-bias:
Eleanor VS. (@eleanorvsartist) March 29, 2017
(Yes, I did just use Twitter as a credible source – it’s 2017.)
Nepotism debunked and thus pushed aside, honestly – if I thought it was crap, I wouldn’t write about it.
Keira and Soulay of the podcast ‘Two Fools Talking‘ came down from London to host. After the jocular duo warmed up the crowd a little with an introduction and a joke or two, the poetry began.
First up: Thembe Mvula – an experienced and pronounced performer. She shared poems about familial relationships and of young women and their desire to save, support and stand by young men who, perhaps, sadly are only looking for fugacious shelter. Thembe, being committed to her feelings and her musings, speaks with a satisfying conviction. I had never heard her material before and I felt every word that she spoke.
It’s cool how you can reconnect with people from your mostly undeveloped, nascent past and discover that they not only have creative talents, but are actively pursuing them – Pierise Poetry is someone I went to primary school with. She has more of an abstract quality as a poet, which I like – it makes you think and really pay close attention. She performed a few short poems and a couple of long ones, and my favourite had to be her ending piece about confidence and her refusal to conform or be less, said to be inspired by one of her favourite poets, Maya Angelou.
To close out the poetry section, Aiden Williams came up to do (if I’m not mistaken) one of his first performances. A wearer of many hats (among other things a writer, poet and photographer) Aiden has been writing poetry for a long time and his thoughts on life are deep. Much like his personality when you meet him, often he’ll say one line or finish a stanza and it will take you a full five seconds to gather the full import of his intention – and your response will either be to laugh or profoundly nod your head. He’s a skilled writer, knowledgeable of the sharp tools he possesses in order to build concepts you want to walk inside, interrogate and experience.
To begin the musical part of the night was singer-songwriter producer Ellis Aaron. You can’t get any more soulful than his voice and his productions have a groove and contagiousness, which the band (Mike, Jon and Jerry on keys, drums and bass, respectively) effortlessly absorbed and played. His focus is towards the light and moving on, a powerful and universally relatable message.
Genie Marie brought spoken word firmly into the programme after the brief interval (Aiden had performed one spoken word piece at the end of his set), and she was definitely the energy high of the night. Her flow is serious, swagger effortless. She really vibes on the music and jammed with the band as she talked of relationships, inspired by the successful ones around her. Then Hetty Jane performed a handful of covers from Alicia Keys, Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill. Accompanied by Everton on guitar, it was a stripped set, which is all her emotionally-driven vocals need – the audience was silent throughout her performance and her voice resonated, carrying her purposeful deliverance of each song.
Last up (or so everybody thought) was Eleanor VS.
…I’m not about to review myself, so let’s just say I had a good time.
At the end, our organizer Estelle sprung a surprise on the audience, gifting two covers by India.Arie and Emily King, which I was honoured to join her on, as well as with the band.
Life & Soul delivered and lived up to its word. It was a great turnout and it should also be noted that the majority of the acts were from Bristol – hardly surprising is it, my fellow Bristolians? It was such a treat to witness so many talented artists and see the world from their enlightened eyes. Here’s to more truthful and authentic soul being brought to our own.
For more information, news and updates on E. Stellar PR and its events visit:
Thank you to Lauren Powell for photographing the event.