Larrieux, BNHeavies Rock Apollo

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Photo: N'dea Davenport, BNH's new lead vocalist
Photo credit: DK Perryman

On Halloween day at the Apollo Theatre, live music took center stage again with phenomenal R&B artist Amel Larrieux, and the funky, soulful sounds of the "Brand New Heavies," as part of November's New Legend Series.

The audience was treated to an unforgettable show. Larrieux's stage presence was breathtaking, belting poetic music mixed with the right sound that stirred the collective soul of the audience. Not often are we given the opportunity to like everything someone has to say, or sing. Coming from Amel Larrieux, every word in every song, had people singing in accompaniment, some swaying with eyes shut and lips pursed, while others just stood with their gaze transfixed on the stage.

Undoubtedly, the audience could not get enough of Amel's vocals, as the audience pulsated delightfully to every chord in her music. Her music career started in New York City early on at the age of 18. At a point, she helped create the singing duo "Groove Theory" with male vocalist Bryce Wilson.

They both enjoyed the success of their first big hit "Tell Me" which was a chart topper back in 1995. She then moved on and embarked on a musical project in which she wrote and produced her solo album "Infinite Possibilities" on the Epic Record label. Through an independent label Bliss Life, Amel released her third album titled "Morning" in April 2006.

We have all heard the sparsely used cliché “that's a hard act to follow," right? As it appeared, "The Brand New Heavies" did a befitting job after Amel Larrieux, dazzling the audience with their tantalizing sound. Agreeably, after being mesmerized by Larrieux's acid jazz and soul, and rediscovering the James Brown-ish funky Hip Hop sound of the Heavies, both performances combined, turned out to be a special treat for Apollo's audience.

N'dea Davenport, the band's new lead singer and successor to Jay Ella Ruth, the original lead singer, has done well in filling the latter's shoes and bringing a unique presence to the stage from her predecessor. Andrew Levy, bass player, and Simon Bartholomew, guitarist, with Jan Kincaid drummer, and a spectacular horn section exude a chemistry that is rare to find in contemporary musical bands. Taking stock of the lustrous talent that The Brand New Heavies comprises, it is no surprise that the band is acclaimed, and their music noted as timeless in caliber.

Unlike those cases where fans support wavers, there is no going back on The Brand New Heavies. Their music is attitude-changing, renewing one’s perspective by reacquainting listeners with pleasant melodies and lyrics that you readily understand and ascribe meaning to. It is a delight to have a musical group like The Brand New Heavies that is just plain old funky!

Amazingly, the trend amongst contemporary artists and groups seems to be irreversible, as they rely heavily on sounds generated digitally, making you often wonder "Why does this album cost $20 when most of the songs are computer generated?" or "It said live performance on the flyer and all I get for $50 is one other person hyping every other word the artist utters?"

For discerning listeners and music aficionados, you need not worry about encountering any disappointments where The BNH are billed to perform live. Whether their performance is at a club, lounge, or a concert venue, they come correct and stay consistent at throwing down fertile acoustics that transcend the generation divide.

In a music industry where profit prevails over art, and all sorts of corners are being cut just to meet contract obligations, it is refreshing to see a group like The Brand New Heavies fully epitomize the expression "Live" in a live performance. Their new album "Get Used To It" is one of those that you must have.

For professional photography contact DK Perryman Photography, Phone: (212) 694-4599.

For inquiries about future Apollo events, call Public Relations Coordinator Nina Flowers at (212) 531-5334.

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The Black Star News: “Speaking Truth To Empower.�

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