A solo intro by Logan Richardson opened the first of two gigs’ dates by guitarist, DJ and producer supremo Nicola Conte together with his new band, the beautiful Spiritual Galaxy, at Ronnie Scott’s recently.
A slow, atmospheric, subdued start enticing the audience to listen carefully to Conte’s music. His new album, “Let Your Light Shine On” was released just days before the start of the tour and tracks from this were played during the show to delight the audience filled with many fans.
There was so much talent on stage. Every time I have attended a Nicola Conte’s gig, the whole show has always proved its uniqueness.
Sitting at the bar, at my favourite seat, the noise of drinks being poured and made by the talented “mixologist” on duty, after the opening track entitled “All praise to Allah” (from one of Conte’s previous albums), the guitarist introduces the rest of the band as well as the beautiful vocalist, Bridgette Amofah, of Ghanaian origin but born and bred in London, who then went on to sing the second track of the show, “Uhuru Na Umoja” (from Conte’s latest album) and a few more, too.
One of the key themes on the night, as mentioned by Conte himself in-between tracks, was the importance of the “connection”, the one between one another, not just something relating to a higher self, but the link that makes us all united, irrespective of colour, religion, shape etc.
For an artist like Nicola Conte, who for a good few decades now, has been composing, producing and playing all over the world, this was an important gig as well as tour.
His “Spiritual Galaxy” band, is an example of the universality of his credo; with origins from Scandinavia, Italy, USA and Britain, Conte managed again to offer a spectacle of superb talent whilst showing how his inventiveness and creativity have reached incredible heights, his new album and his latest project are clearly a definitive proof of it.
So on a very warm and busy Friday night in Soho, Nicola Conte opened the main show at Ronnies with class, a subtle and yet ensnaring kind of class.Here came tracks like “Universal Rhythm”, sang by Amofah, with Richardson on lead on alto sax, I found myself in an almost trance-like state, engrossed in the perfect atmosphere that both vocals and musicality produced. And then, cleverly and almost imperceptibly, the rhythm changed, Abdissa Assefah on percussion, of Ethiopian origin and currently living in Helsinki, was the master leading a track that is one of my favourites on the album and, of course on the night, “Me Do Wo”.
Amongst his many aspects, as mentioned previously, of composer, producer and musician, there is definitely a constant with Nicola Conte: he is, truly, a modest genius. During my interview with him before sound-check (which will be published soon on these pages), he proved that time and time again, his beliefs and passion and impeccable writing are a testament to a humble producer and guitarist, who never tires of creating new material and new dimensions.
Nicola Conte and Spiritual Galaxy’s performance was perfect on many levels, but it is the choice of talents that made it even more special.
My special mentions have to go to Pietro Lusso on piano, originally from Sardinia and living in Rome, and to the mighty Logan Richardson on alto sax (all the way from Kansas City), they created a fantastic amalgam of music and poetry on the night. Their solos were magical.
Lastly but definitely not least, thank you to Nicola Conte, a compatriot of my native Puglia, for having brought out onto this Universe his marvellous new project AND for allowing me time to chat with him (again).
Nicola Conte – guitar. Bridgette Amofah – vocals. Pietro Lussu – piano. Marco Bardoscia– double & Electro-bass. Teppo Makynen – drums. Logan Richardson – alto sax. Abdissa Assefah – percussion.
Text: Erminia Yardley
Photo Credits: © Carl Hyde 2018
YT Video: Nicola Conte YouTube Channel