The freezing temperatures on Friday, January 9, 2015 in New York City were not enough to keep the sold out crowd from coming to Highline Ballroom for an eclectic line-up of artists who are truly ahead of their time. As part of the APAP (Associate of Performing Arts Presenters) conference 2015, openers Kaki King and Sinkane, and headliner Neneh Cherry absolutely wowed the audience and certainly demonstrated incredible talent.

First up, Kaki King graces the stage with a futuristic looking white guitar. While her set began at the unusual hour of 7:00pm and she experienced some technical difficulties, King dazzled her audience with great visual effects and wonderful storytelling through a musical medium. Kaki King is one of the few guitarists I have seen perform who has the ability to make her guitar talk to the audience. Her music is fluid and conversational, both fantastic qualities for a great performance.

Next on the bill for the evening was Brooklyn-based, electro-funk and Sudanese pop band Sinkane. Band frontman Ahmed Gallab’s thick synth grooves underneath his impressive vocals demanded the audience’s attention and controlled the room. Although the middle of the group’s hour-long set was a bit lackluster, the final two songs more than made up for it. Gallab ended his set with funky guitar solos and a range of fantastic voices and horns sections.

Finally Neneh Cherry, the Swedish-born vocalist, graced the stage for an avant-garde headlining performance.  It was  Cherry’s first time performing solo in New York City and it was quite obvious that the room was packed for the soul purpose of watching this woman sing, even David Byrne made an appearance. Everyone in attendance could tell that there was something very special and honest in her performance. Neneh Cherry sang every note of every song with a great amount of soul, something that cannot be replicated by any other singer.  As she performed work from her most recently released album Blank Project, the audience swooned with every chord that was played. After her electric performance, it’s safe to assume that this will not be her last great performance in New York City. 


– Marisa Frydman (@musicalmarisa)

[photo credit Corey Regensburger]

[Neneh Cherry video courtesy of Punkcast]