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Fredericks Brown ft Deva Mahal at Boulder Theater

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Monday October 21, 2013

From The Marquee

Review/Photos: World Blues ft Taj Mahal Trio, Vusi Mahlasela, Fredericks Brown ft Deva Mahal Boulder Theater 10/19/13
BY Chibo Acevedo

This past Saturday evening at the Boulder Theater, the Taj Mahal Trio headlined an evening of music, rich in cultural diversity. A full house was treated to some real home cookin’ by the blues legend, along with two openers – his daughter Deva Mahal’s duo project Fredericks Brown, and South African Vusi Mahlasela. The poster read World Blues, and listeners were given exactly that.

Fredericks Brown is the culmination of two Kiwi ladies who moved to New York separately, only to cross paths in the East Village and discovered they shared a kinship for songwriting. Given their heritages; Deva Mahal, being daughter of Taj, and Stephanie “Tipsy” Brown, with a strong Pacific Island influence, it’s no surprise that the music they make together is a sublime pop creation, infused with soul, rootsy blues and a slight island shimmer.

Vusi Mahlasela can be recognized from the 2002 documentary Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony, which chronicled the solidarity of music culture during the struggle against Apartheid. In the past year, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by SAMA (South American Music Awards), has been given an honorary doctorate degree from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, SA, and is known in his home country simply as “The Voice.” His music is powerful and his voice is lush, robust and full of life. Mahlasela played solo/acoustic and was also quite an accomplished picker. It is not often that a solo artist, especially an opener, is able to capture the hearts and ears of their audience. Mahlasela had this Boulder crowd eating out of his hands. He belted out tune after tune with such fiery soul and passion, one could not help but be engaged. As part of his last song, he created a “sing along” with the crowd, who eagerly chanted along. A very striking and impressive performance indeed.

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