Emile Sandé & Incognito – A True Celebration of Chaka Khan Meltdown Festival

Emeli Sandé – Southbank Centre – 15-06-24 Credit- Pete Woodhead

It was a warm and appreciative crowd that received Emeli Sandé at the Royal Festival Hall on June 15th 2024,  when she performed many of her much loved songs, as part of Chaka Khan’s Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre, in London.

From the first note, she delighted her devotees with a rendition of ‘’Next to Me’, a hit from her seminal, multiple platinum debut album Our Version of Events. Many more hits were to follow.

From Heaven, My Kind of Love, Breathing Underwater to Clown the songstress alternated her voice using powerhouse vocals when belting out the big numbers to more sweet and gentle tones to deliver the ballads. Sandé’s arrangements of her own songs were infused with jazz elements, sometimes gospel, but never wondered too far away from her R&B base, proving the  versatility of her range. 

At one point, Sandé reprised the Scottish hymn Abide with Me, which she sang at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. She blended it with a recording of a Zambian gospel choir in the background, reminding everyone of her dual Scottish and Zambian heritage with her stirring performance. 

The best was saved for last when when she ended with the moving Read All About It, plus an encore of the joyous Shine, released in 2019 from her Real Life album. This got everyone on their feet, spreading the positive energy of the Chaka Khan Meltdown.

Incognito – Southbank Centre – 19-06-24 – Credit- Pete Woodhead

Incognito, also playing at the Festival Hall on 19th June, offered a contrast to Sandé with their big band ensemble. The group were celebrating their 45th anniversary, as part of the Meltdown festival. Formed in 1979 as the UK’s first jazz, funk and soul collective, co- founder Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick expressed his gratitude to the loyal supporters for staying with them over the years.

Guest singer Maysa, with a smooth, honeyed voice provided much of the lead vocals. During a rendition of Deep Waters she introduced a medley of well known love songs including Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do With It and Chaka Khan’s own hit Sweet Thing. The performance was outstanding. 

Heavy on the instrumentals, Incognito entertained the crowd with upbeat performances of their hits Parisienne Girl, Always There and Into You taken from from their latest album. The line-up of musicians for the evening produced top contributions from the brass, keyboards, base, drums and percussion sections. Bluey remarked how, over the years, Incognito had worked with a total 1500 talented artists whose contributions had kept the band vital and always moving forward. In addition, the grammy nominated group enjoyed major collaborations with legends Stevie Wonder, George Benson and Ms Chaka Khan herself.

By the end, Incognito had everyone dancing and singing along to Stevie Wonder covers of  ‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing and ‘As’. The finale felt like a party and true celebration of of their many years making music. It was a tribute to Chaka Khan’s jubilant Meltdown Festival.

 

For more information visit; https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on

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