CD and Live Review: Germana Stella La Sorsa, Primary Colours

Recorded in May 2023, ‘Primary Colours’ is the second album release by Italian London-based singer songwriter Germana Stella La Sorsa. It’s official release date took us into the new year, launching at the Vortex on 26th January; a lively, communal event at the heart of Dalston.

The album features 7 original compositions which touch on the impact of various emotions, including joy, passion, and depression. Several musical styles and influences are explored throughout, from Latin grooves to free improvisation sections and dance rhythms. In La Sorsa’s own words:

Primary Colours is an album about emotions and how they combine together… in the way that primary colours combine together.’

On the evening of the 26th, Germana Stella La Sorsa and her quartet took to the stage, her eyelids shimmering under the colourful lights, making parallels to the main themes that flow throughout the album. We were immediately guided into the ethereal introduction of ‘Black’, an illustrative piece of storytelling which discusses the process of overcoming depression and accepting difficult situations with awareness. Both in the recording and live performance, La Sorsa’s raw and striking vocals are prominent in the musical mix, with her impressive scat moments driving the compositions forward. Sam Leak’s organ solo was cheeky and characterful, built around memorable motifs and playing into moments of call and response with La Sorsa herself.

The second tune in the set was ‘Yellow’, built on lyrics from the poem by William Wordsworth, ‘Daffodils’. The song continues thematically from ‘Black’, but instead examines how to revive yourself from a time of depression and find the light in everyday life. With its powerful vocal lines and distinct tonal contrasts, we are adopted into the musical world of Germana Stella La Sorsa.

From the sense of joy that we reach, I move on to finding a sense of belonging… I wrote this next tune thinking about my hometown, I have lots of sunny memories… The sea talks to me and tells me I can always go back there. It was around this time I discovered I was pregnant… ‘Blue’ came out the day before I gave birth, and in a way, the song is a way of talking to my son.’

‘Blue’ features special guest Tara Minton, on vocals and harp. The angelic harp solo over the elaborate chord progression, is a sonically intriguing combination, and is a moment of pure beauty. By telling this story in her native language, La Sorsa takes us to the beaches of Puglia, and reinforces her need to belong there.

At the launch event, La Sorsa also included multiple tracks from her previous album ‘Vapour’, which featured electronic manipulations of her vocals.

The second set brought us passion and love in the form of ‘Red’, a fast-moving composition with a virtuosic guitar solo splitting up the verses. ‘White’ led us on from these fiery emotions into a state of rationality, calm and balance of all our feelings. This track once again featured Tara Minton and was a moment of retrospection between the vocals and harp.

The title track, ‘Primary Colours’ was an invitation to embrace all your feelings, combined together at times, an unmistakable feature of our human nature.

Germana Stella La Sorsa and her quartet wonderfully portrayed the many layers of ‘Primary Colours’ on the Vortex stage, layers of which can be found in each and every composition on this impressive album.

All photography by Tatiana Gorilovsky. Album artwork by Andy Porter.

Track Listing:

  1. Black
  2. Yellow
  3. Blue
  4. Red
  5. White
  6. Primary Colours
  7. Refraction


Personnel: Vocals- Germana Stella La Sorsa

Hammond Organ- Sam Leak

Guitar- Tom Ollendorf

Drums- Jay Davis

Harp- Tara Minton (tracks 3 and 5)

Last modified: May 24, 2024