By Jake Reynolds, MA Music
Eliane Correa has spent the last decade marching firmly toward veteran status in the London jazz scene, between collecting multiple LUKAS awards and performing at Ronnie Scott’s, she performs with the En El Aire Project and La Evolución. Despite this wealth of experience and competence, on Wednesday she confessed that concerts such as this still make her nervous. Concerts with Lucy Duran in the audience, that is.
It was with La Evolución that she performed for the SOAS Concert series’ November instalment and, despite her professed nervousness, Eliane Correa led the evening with exceptional confidence, energy, and musicianship to boot.
“From carefully dictating the dynamics of the percussion to informing us on the correct relationships between lead and supporting vocals, she showed real passion and understanding for how her band should translate in a live performance.”
I was not only a spectator for the show but found myself fortunate enough to be involved in a sound engineering capacity, and what struck me from a professional perspective was Eliane’s attention to detail in the hours before the show began. From carefully dictating the dynamics of the percussion to informing us on the correct relationships between lead and supporting vocals, she showed real passion and understanding for how her band should translate in a live performance. Then, in a matter of minutes, she disappeared into the dressing room and returned with her hair down, donning a mid-green dress. Eliane Correa & La Evolución were ready to perform.
The Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre doesn’t lend itself to live music performance, and an artist might be forgiven for struggling to bring enough energy to a space primarily designed for lecturing. However, within 10 minutes La Evolución had convinced the audience to stand up from the pastel fabric chairs and move instead to channels between seats. Whilst perhaps odd to observe from outside, the two corridors of dancers that the audience had now become were the only permissible way to listen to and enjoy the music. So inescapably social in style and sound, to not be active, engaged, and among others, while Eliane performs feels like an affront. Throughout their show, the eleven strong La Evolución rotate instruments and share in a musical conversation that also engages with the crowd. Though it is worth noting that Eliane never left her piano, save for one moment when the whole band stood at the front of the stage to sing a refrain with the audience.
It’s clear that all of the musicians that evening had the attitude and talent necessary to be part of an Eliane Correa ensemble and, as a consequence, mixing the concert proved difficult as you always find yourself wanting to push each instrument further and harder in an effort to match their energy, while eventually leaving you nowhere else to turn. I caught her briefly after the concert to congratulate her and learned that immediately she was leaving for Ronnie Scott’s to see another show. If that didn’t demonstrate her engagement with music, then I don’t know what does.
Photo Caption: Post advertising the concert (Credit: SOAS Concert Series via Facebook).