Charlene Soraia @ Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 14th July 2012

Miss Charlene Soraia is an artist who I have plenty of time for. She has something extremely special and vocals you just want to bottle up. Soraia attended the BRIT school (notable students include Jessie J, Kate Nash, Adele, Katy B among others) despite not having a GCSE in music. She began performing as a solo artist in 2008, released a trilogy of EP’s (Daffodils And Other Idylls, Postcards From iO & One Of The Sun) and last November debut album Moonchild which also featured her cover of Wherever You Will Go that she did for Twinings.

Charlene announced she would be playing at the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion at 4.20pm and the tweet was set out around 2.50pm. I knew I wanted to be there but the fact that it was so short notice was cutting it fine. I actually dithered a bit because if I was going I would of liked to have caught the whole set. In the end I thought it was possible if I went to Wimbledon then District line to South Kensington. By the time I had got to Kensington it did look like I was going to miss a portion of the set. When I had reached the Pavilion I noticed Charlene was not on the stage which made me think I got there too late. Thankfully it was running late and Soraia took to the small stage at 4.45pm.

Things kicked off with Bike which was not actually about bikes. I found this tune very smooth which was superbly sung and Charlene’s vocals were really strong. Once over it was then onto Postcards From iO. There was some banter that Charlene thought that iO was the moon of Jupiter made of ice but in fact it’s Ganymede. “Ganymede, iO, ice. Sounds like a disease” Soraia then said. There was a folk vibe to this tune which was delivered steadily. The chorus was very up tempo and the high pitched warblings were spine tingling. It was then onto Rowing which can mean two different things. It could be either Rowing as in sailing or Rowing as in arguing. Considering Charlene again mentioned how she split from her now ex I am guessing it was the 2nd of the two. Charlene was about to say something about her ex partner but remembered there were children in the Pavilion which then resulted in her letting out a little purrr (for those who have seen Charlene will know she makes the odd noise at times). At first, Rowing started off at a slow pace and then got more steady when it progressed. I found this to be rather infectious and it was rather gentle/ subtle at the same time. The penultimate song was Daffodils. Before getting stuck into it Soraia mentioned how she doesn’t like the flower and the fact she sees them as being the trumpets of spring. This tune was superbly delivered and it was also gentle on the ear. This impeccable set ended with Wherever You Will Go. Before playing this tune Charlene had mentioned she missed tea when in America and how over there it tasted like wheelbarrows. Also she mentioned that she was down to her last bag of Twinings. Anyhow this track is the most commercial due to the fact it appeared in that advert and it even peaked at #3 in the Official UK Single Charts. When closely listening to the lyrics there is a tinge of emotion. Charlene Soraia put her own stamp of originality on this song and it was sung to complete perfection.

SET LIST

Bike
Postcards From iO
Rowing
Daffodils
Wherever You Will Go

OVERALL: I was extremely pleased that I had the chance to witness this performance. It was cutting it a bit fine but I must be thankful it was running late. In about a weeks time Soraia plays a trio of festivals (Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire, Blue Bells in Switzerland and Cambridge Folk Festival) which makes this look like the last time I see her until she comes back and tours the UK.

As for the set that Charlene played, she was fantastic. It was just her and her guitar playing 5 wonderful songs from the stunning album Moonchild. Soraia has vocals that you just want to bottle up. What I love about Charlene is sense of humour and the fact she can always make me laugh/ smile. I really relish seeing her again when she tours in the autumn (unless she plays the odd secret gig from now until then).

Once Charlene had finished it was nice to have a chat with her about the the baritone guitar she saw on ebay (she won the bid but didn’t meet the reserve), the next album and the fact she wants it just right. Another thing that I like about her is the fact she has a lovely personality. If you had the chance you could talk to her for ages.

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