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Award-winning musician YolanDa Brown invites South Holland Centre audience to join 'posh reggae' bandwagon

TV and radio presenter, racing driver, children's author and musical dynamo YolandDa Brown won round a new set of fans in Spalding on Friday.

The East London-born saxophonist, a two-time MOBO (Music of Black Origin) jazz award winner, brought her tenth anniversary world tour to South Holland Centre where she introduced her audience to the sound of "posh reggae".

Except that right at the start of Friday's concert, the presenter of "YolanDa's Band Jam" on CBeebies had a confession to make in that her tour is actually marking 12 years as a professional musician.

Saxophonist YolanDa Brown brought her tenth anniversary tour to Spalding's South Holland Centre.Photo supplied.
Saxophonist YolanDa Brown brought her tenth anniversary tour to Spalding's South Holland Centre.Photo supplied.

There were high expectations for the jazz, reggae and soul-themed night, largely due to Brown having previously toured with the likes of Billy Ocean, The Temptations, Errol Brown, Beverley Knight and Diana Krall.

Intimacy and warmth were the crucial ingredients to Friday's concert as Brown introduced her band, pianist Oli Howe, guitarist Dave Niskin, bass player Rick Leon James and drummer Talbert Wilson, before weaving her way through a collection of music from her two albums.

The concert opened with Tokyo Sunset, from Brown's debut album April Showers May Flowers, before moving on to Million Billion Love, the opening track from her second album Love Politics War.

Brown's debt of gratitude to her Jamaican roots came soon afterwards with a medley of Bob Marley songs that ended with Is This Love, providing an open invitation for the audience to exercise their vocal chords.

Far from being just an occasion where one musical number followed another, Brown engaged her audience by introducing each song as though if it represented a particular chapter of her life.

In between the chat, Brown demonstrated her considerable talents as a saxophone player, unselfishly making room for her band to show off their instrumental skills too.

The concert playlist included songs with simple, yet intriguing names, such as Confusion, Heritage, General Politricks, Dream Dream Repeat, Ranglin on Bond Street and Surfin, before Brown turned to The Beatles and Hey Jude as her final number of the night.

An encore featuring Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain, soaked up by an appreciative and satisfied audience, made Brown's night of "posh reggae" complete.

Review by Winston Brown

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