Amidst the anger and ferocity sparked by the pandemic and other events, there have been calls for civility and carefully considered responses. Black Matter is just the ticket, addressing topical issues head-on and in a manner that, seemingly effortlessly, strikes a balance between telling it like it is and remaining positive in the face of life’s challenges. Each tune in this song cycle tells at least one story – some have multiple narratives, but they are all easy enough to follow.
Within seconds of this online production starting, the familiar lobby area of The Crazy Coqs, the live music venue in the basement of Brasserie Zedel, a one-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus Underground Station, comes into view. From inside the venue, Giles Terera sings his own songs and plays his own instruments, a one-man tour de force with a warm and engaging manner. For the most part, he lets the lyrics and music do the ‘talking’, with a brief spoken anecdote or introduction on occasion.
The stories are incredibly varied and have much to say not only about London in lockdown but how things were pre-pandemic, and how things might well continue to be in future. Some lyrics put things in perspective: one might question in these uncertain times whether it really is a good thing just to be waking up in the morning to face another day, for instance, and while the idea of taking things one day at a time is hardly new, Terera serves up a heartfelt reminder to take the time to look after oneself.
I will be briefer than usual as I don’t wish to give any of Terera’s stories away: they are all worth listening to, which is precisely why I won’t regurgitate them here. Aside from the need to avoid spoilers, I would hardly do them justice when they are sung as beautifully as they are in this concert.
The range of different styles and tempos is impressive, and the show would be, I think, best enjoyed as an in-person live music experience, as and when it becomes safe to gather again. Terera is at the top of his game in this lively and perceptive performance.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Giles Terera, the Olivier Award-winning West End star of ‘Hamilton’, performs the world premiere of ‘Black Matter’, a new song cycle composed while he observed life on the changing streets of London’s Soho over a tumultuous summer in lockdown.
A solo concert with Giles accompanying himself on guitar and piano, ‘Black Matter’ was recorded with multiple cameras and will be streamed globally on-demand from March 24 – 31
in BLACK MATTER
Available globally on demand from 24 – 31 March
Show runs 1 hour
To book a stream go to https://www.fane.co.uk/giles-terera