Gig Review and Pictures: N’Dambi at The Jazz Cafe (31.03.2010)

When first starting out N’Dambi and Erykah Badu made a pact, they decided whoever made it first would take the other one with them… indeed her first ‘step into the game,’ was via being Erykah Badu’s backing singer.  Over a decade later and N’Dambi is a bit of a neo-soul star in her own right, and last night she was in London for the final stop of her European tour promoting Pink Elephant.

N’Dambi’s appearance is striking; gone is the trademark afro, replaced by a red Mohawk.  Coupled with her thigh-high white boots and a tall athletically powerful frame she looked like a warrior queen, ready to take arms and fight for just about anything.

From start to finish the defining feature of the gig was power and energy, trust me the Energizer Bunny has nothing on N’Dambi.  There was fast wine, slow wine, low punch, high punch, and at one point she kicked so high it was reminiscent of a special move from Street Fighter II!  It was incredible how she kept it going for the entire hour and a half set, not resting once.  F*** a Red Bull, whatever she had for dinner will have you set for life.

The music matched this intensity as N’Dambi embarked on a set of pacy and wholesome soul music with a very rhythmic feel.  Call Me and L.I.E early on set the tone of the set before she sung some of her older material.  When she did slow it down on The Sunshine it was the performance of the night, matched only by Imitator which started slow (just softly strummed lead) only to build into a melodic cacophony of guitar, drums and keys with her voice blasting out over the top.

Another thing about N’Dambi is she continually smiles; one is permanently transfixed on her face, like a child singing in a school choir.  Even when recounting the sad tale of a fan whose life she saved with her music she told it with a glow and Cheshire cat smile.

N’Dambi put on a solid show, even for those unfamiliar with her music.  It was lively and engaging, definitely not a private members affair as some (especially neo-soul) gigs can feel like for newcomers.  She made everyone feel welcome and when she comes back to London Town will definitely be worth some investigation… even if it is to watch in awe at her super-human energy level!

Soulside Funk

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N'Dambi at the Jazz Cafe, LondonN'Dambi at the Jazz Cafe, LondonN'Dambi at the Jazz Cafe, LondonN'Dambi at the Jazz Cafe, London

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for an encore try…


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