‘It felt heavily intimate and we hung on to every last syllable’
Opening Sofar Sounds at Bianca Road Brew Co was Chisara Agor. Greeted with applause and carrying a distinctive look, this multi-talented artist from Peckham took to the performance area less than a few feet from where we sat on the floor. Suddenly the room fell silent. Silent like I’d never heard before. And then, cutting through, was this effortless and instantly engaging vocal. To stand in a room, so close to your audience, and perform the opening of ‘Nature Boy’ entirely a capella took real confidence. But, like a true professional, there was no hint of wavering. As an audience, we were totally captivated.
Segueing from this, Chisara self-accompanied an enticing version of ‘Sunny’. Showcasing her skills as a ukelele player as well as a vocalist, it made for a beautifully delicate way of opening a set. With a wonderful blend of soulful elements and a cheeky edge to her tone, it meant you could have heard a pin drop. Literally. It felt heavily intimate and with us hanging on to every syllable, the switch from covers to own tracks made us feel like we knew every one of them.
Bringing a change of pace, ‘Lifestyle’ saw Chisara introduce us to a more chilled side of her sound. Combining percussive hits and seamless vocal slides, it made for as much of an enticing listen as what had come before. Additionally, following this the chilled, light-hearted side of her personality shone through as she told us of the story behind ‘Shelter’ which was originally recorded and performed at Sofar Sounds in Madrid. However, even if you didn’t know this, you couldn’t fail to notice the Spanish influences within the finger picked, flamenco-esque accompaniment and the use of her lower alto range. Each bringing a new element to the sound it was another delightful listening experience.
Guiding us to the conclusion of her set, the penultimate track, ‘Unnatural Beauty,’ brought a further change of pace and a master class in songwriting. Containing sublime chord changes and skilfully placed uses of empty space, it was real highlight. But more was still to come and in her more passionate closing track, ‘Refuge‘ the use of empty space was taken to an almost risky level. However, in leaving it for as long as she dared, Chisara kept us completely engaged right to the final note.
To find out more about the other artists and their performances, choose a review below and continue discovering:
Martin Piehlmeier: ‘You felt, heard and saw every pick, strum and percussive hit of musicality’
Ganda Boys: ‘This is music which is about more than ‘just the music,’ it’s a whole cultural experience’