Dawn Penn, Joy Mack and Naffi I at Passing Clouds

July 21, 2011

On 8th July I attended my second of Vibes and Pressure’s events at Passing Clouds in Dalston.

Billed as “a celebration of female expression” it featured Jamaican singer Dawn Penn, with the UK’s own Joy Mack and Naffi I – backed by the Giddeon Family band.

Vibes and Pressure celebrate pluralism and there was a wide range of music in the early part of the evening. As well as regulars Natty and Aruba Red, we were treated to a stunning performance from cellist and singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Her percussive playing and an extraordinary voice left the downstairs audience transfixed.

It was just as well she left a lasting impression. For there was some delay before the Giddeon players took the stage in stripped-down drums, bass, keyboards and guitar formation. Fortunately when Sister Naffi I arrived – without her sons Prince Aniyah and Prince Iquela this time – she gave a masterclass in galvanising a flagging Friday night crowd with her imposing roots music and commanding presence.

The performance of the night came from Joy Mack, who sang a lovely major key version of the Wailers’ Hurting Inside. Dawn Penn, who appeared 15 minutes before the 3am curfew seemed distracted by comparison, saying it was “past my bedtime”. Yet her set, comprising Studio 1 hit No No No (You Don’t Love Me) with new tracks City Life and Don’t Hustle The Music, was bossed by the enthusiastic pounding of Giddeon drummer Rim Bim – who appears to love every second of his work.

Expect to have your tastes met and challenged at Vibes and Pressure because diversity is the name of the game. They even serve coconut beer.

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