By Emma Horak

Cosily set within the Supreme Court Gardens, with the stage lights fitting snugly against the Perth skyline, Sampa the Great’s live performance on Friday night brought a fresh glow to the CBD. Exuding an aura sizzling with charisma upon her entrance, the Zambian singer and rapper proclaimed a single, powerful message from the stage: “Music has one language”.

Opening the performance with Melbourne-based, up-and-coming talent Kaiit proved an expert pick for hyping up the crowd. Combining fluid jazz sounds with wavy, celestial vocals, Kaiit delivered a quirky, intimate performance that left listeners feeling giddy and euphoric. For me, their vocal range and flow have cemented them as an artist to keep an eye out for, with personal favourite tracks from the show including ‘2000 n Somethin’ and ‘Dumb Sis Juice’. If you’re looking for lyricism that balances wit with vulnerability, all synthesised through a dreamy voice rivalling the likes of Kali Uchis, Kaiit is a must-listen.

Next to take the stage was the Zambian-born artist herself, cultivating a show that wove through a diverse blend of genres, languages and sounds; the result was a powerful symphony that echoed the values of Afrofuturism (a genre and aesthetic that the singer declared as a major inspiration for her music). A definitive highlight of the night was Sampa bringing her uncle (and member of Zambirock band Witch) onto the stage to join in on the show, which provoked further eruptions of dancing and musical interludes. Special mention also needs to be made for the incredible backing vocals (one source being Sampa’s sister) which provided an angelic timbre that built upon the singer’s own voice beautifully. The effect was a provocative demonstration of music’s capacity to transcend both cultures and time. And for fans of Little Simz, Sampa the Great brings a similarly unique voice that provides a wonderful ode to her inspirations and injects a fresh new sound into the music space.

Sampa the Great’s performance was a wonderful addition to the Perth Festival, bringing the CBD to life and provoking a dance that even my two left feet could not refuse. With each song, the night divulged further into a magical aura of ‘togetherness’ that saw shoes taken off, picnic rugs abandoned and the presence of a particular energy that has been noticeably absent from the Perth music scene. Having the opportunity to listen to this in my own ‘backyard’ added a further layer of appreciation for me, and with many new projects in the works, I would highly recommend seeing one of her performances to any fan of live music.

5/5 Pelicans

By Pelican Magazine

Pelican is the second-oldest student publication in Australia and the only independent paper at UWA. If you like having opinions, writing, drawing, and/or free tickets to local events, then Pelican is the place for you! We print six themed issues a year, and run a stream of online content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *