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REBEKKA KARIJORD @ THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER 17/01/13 – REVIEW BY MELANIE SMITH

Rebekka Karijord is a Norwegian singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist whom I interviewed last year, [read here] after being sent her bio and her wonderful new album to review, and now Manchester was very fortunate to be chosen to bare witness to a special visitation as she played only a handful of UK shows on the ‘We Become Ourselves Tour’. It’s Rebekka’s first headline UK tour, starting with Scotland, and it also kicks off our gigging season, and what a great way to proceed.

The Ruby Lounge was laid out in preparation for an intimate and cosy night, almost like a cocktail bar, with circular tables, lights dimmed, and candle lit. It proves to be a little bit of a challenging evening for me, as we have to wait until almost 10pm for the main event. Patience was never my strong point and I am itching to hear those beautiful angelic, gothic vocal chords and hearing the music from the album live, which I have been playing for the past few months.

The stage set is transformed with an electric harp centre stage, keyboards and drums set to one side. The 3 man band appear on the stage, then a flash of silver sequinned pumps and Rebakka is before us, wearing a kimono with dangling tinkling bells, under ruby red lights. She has many elements of the great female singers, such as Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, Florence and a touch of Bat For Lashes, but with more subtle, quite ethereal and delicate edged vocals.And lets not forget the boys in the band, who play a fantastic energetic set around Rebekka's mighty powerful vocals.

We begin the show with a short intro folk piece, before she sails into the delicate chants of the atmospheric ‘Prayer’. Following this Rebekka moves to the keyboard, and embarks on the ecclesiastical strains of ‘Save Yourself’, all in the room are enchanted apart from a few people at the bar, who continue to chatter throughout the whole show. It’s only when Rebekka starts into ‘Use My Body While It´s Still Young’ that you get the full pelt of stirring and powerful emotions, it starts with loud tribal style drumming, which jolts us all into tapping our feet, nodding our heads in unison, and wanting to sing out loud and dance around the room, those drums are strong and clear and her voice is sharp and poignant. I can almost see a top ten hit with this uplifting track; it certainly rivals anything Florence + The Machine have released.

‘Oh Brother’ slows the pace down quite considerably, it’s deeply touching which is reflected in the lyrical content “We felt distance without knowing why / If I ever have a son I'll teach him it's OK to cry”.  We continue with the tender story of the ‘Paperboy’ with its tale of lost love, beautiful, yet sad lyrics. “I know that she abandoned you back then, the girl who was your lover and your friend, Your secret does not scare me a bit you see I once defeated that same sorrow inside me”. ‘Multicoloured Hummingbird’ is carefree, playful and a joyous number, closely pursued by ‘You Make Me Real’ which affirms Rebekka’s darker side, humming and throbbing melody, reflecting upon the story telling mystical nature of many of her songs. 'Your love' another delightfully charming uplifting number that captivates everyone seated tonight.

The setlist mainly covered the new album, [her fourth studio album], apart from two tracks ‘Paperboy’ and ‘Wear It Like A Crown’, taken from her 2011 album ‘The Noble Art Of Letting Go’. Sadly all too soon this beautiful show comes to a close, with 'Ode To What Was lost' its a stunning heartfelt piece of music, which leaves us all a little breathless.

I’m sure this won’t be her last UK performance, and I’m hoping next time to witness Rebekka play a larger venue, her music is simply too big for a small space, she needs a cathedral or theatre. This isn’t mainstream music, and I am guessing she never wants to be, as she is unique and holds within her the ability to share her personal emotions and experiences through her hallowed beautiful music

Setlist:

Intro (Norwegian folk song)
Prayer
Save Yourself
Use My Body While It´s Still Young
Oh Brother
Paperboy - "The Noble Art Of Letting Go"
Multicolored Hummingbird
You Make Me Real
Wear It Like A Crown
Your Love
Ode To What Was Lost

Review & photos by Melanie Smith - www.mudkissphotography.co.uk