– THE QUIET RIOT –
Tawiah (or Beverley Akua Mansa Tawiah as she’s known to her Mum), has been on the London neo-soul scene for a while and yet only now is she releasing her debut album.
First championed by Gilles Peterson on his Brownswood Compilation in 2007, the delay has been partly due to circumstances that can best be described as ‘record label-related’.
But, in the meantime, we’ve had plenty to keep our appetite suitably whetted; three EPs and plenty of cameos with, amongst others, Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange), Cinematic Orchestra, Ghostpoet and Moses Sumney.
Don’t Hold Your Breath is a track that first featured on 2017’s Recreate EP, returning as the apex of new full length Starts Again.
Everything about this track feels powerful to me. From the military-style drum beat to the magisterial strings (composed by Flying Lotus, Seu Jorge and Thundercat collaborator Miguel Atwood-Ferguson).
And yet there’s a real restraint to it too. At no point does Tawiah ‘go big’. She clearly has it in her locker to belt out those top notes if she wanted to but every time she gets close, she pulls it back. And that, in itself is its own form of exercising power.
Given that the whole album is an exploration of her identity as a queer woman of colour raised in a Pentecostal family, she clearly has powerful stories to tell.
Starts Again is out now through First Word Records.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
RACHAEL DADD: CUT MY ROOTS
ASHLEY HENRY: BETWEEN THE LINES
YAATRI: WAITING ON THE SUN
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –