Kadhja Bonet – Stockholm Soul. April 28th 2018


Stockholm Soul Festival. Soul and everything inbetween. There’s a vast range of style on display with Ms. Lenae and Kadhja Bonet at opposite ends but with a shared singular vision and stubborness. On Saturday, the seemingly uncomfortable Bonet entered the stage at Hörsalen, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, announcing there would be no fancy speech. And then came ”Honeycomb”. It set a mood and it was clear that this night would be different. Who is Kadhja Bonet? There’s no real need to look into what’s been written about her, I suppose. You can protect your own entry into her music that way. We should’ve learned that by now but we’re just human, need to know, find out, touch, feel and picture it, but for what purpose in this case?

The band’s relaxed in a session musician kind of way. Drummer Josh and bassist Dave, the latter dressed in a Mexico t-shirt, are part of her regular ensemble. Then Björn, the Swedish keyboard player, whose last name Kadhja had forgotten. He would be the only one to rival her quirky exit from the stage towards the end. The sight brings a friendly smile. He’s a temporary stand-in but very much in tune with what Kadhja Bonet is doing and clearly very talented and nice, boy-ish in a way.

Kadhja misses a note, yet the band plays on. ”Troopers”, she called them. A very American expression.

She’s just something else, blessed with a voice of an angel. I notice she never really faces us and it’s not consistent with the overall presentation. The music is finding its place so neatly and doesn’t apologise. The person does.

”Delphine”, the most recent sample from her upcoming album is almost literary in a sense. I propose this to a friend and receive a blank stare back: ”I haven’t listened to her lyrics”. Perhaps I’m overthinking things again.

This is my favorite song right now and it will stay with me. Things would have to get lighter after that. ”Delphine” goes far into that most private space and it’s difficult to stay there for too long. It’s a Saturday night after all. Keep your head straight. Just one fleeting glimpse. Lightness came and there were ”feel good” moments during this concert. ”Mother maybe” is downright funky and those words are strung together so fluently, exquisitely. Perhaps that’s my favorite? The new album will be something else. It’ll look good on the wall. Green and orange mix well. DeBarge, Dusty Springfield and Ross/Richie covers were delivered with care and warmth. There was another cover that I chose to forget. This is a very human performance with flaws and highs. Overall Kadhja Bonet is a blessing.

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