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With her heavenly voice, Shara Worden seems to transcend time and space #hf12

Shara Worden bounces lithely across the Bimhuis stage, dressed in a weird, multicoloured fairy outfit with plush balls. And she sings the stars from heaven, with insane timing and agility.

Her heavenly voice seems to dance with amazing dynamics. From frighteningly subtle and rarefied, from warm and deeply resonant to shuddering high notes at hurricane force. She seems to transcend time and space.

In the programme All Things Will Unwind played many of the songs from her self-titled album, backed by her regular drummer Brian Wolfe, violin player Nadia Sirota and an occasional ensemble of viola, cello, violin, flute, clarinet and trumpet. The incredibly tight set was complemented by a bunch of old crackers such as Workhorse, which - how could it be otherwise, that material is obviously much better ingrained - especially in the last bars degenerate into virtuoso, wildly swirling improvisations between Wolfe and Worden. And again it is striking how well Worden and consorts master their dynamics. From very subtle and minimalistic to wild churning noise. But it is exactly right. Every time, and in every song.

I have All Things Will Unwind has been in the house for a while now, and as interesting and subtle as that record is, I can't shake the crushing impression of Worden's earlier albums Bring Me The Workhorse and A Thousand Shark's Teeth hard to let go of. Indeed, these are considerably more morbid and dark in sound and theme. Worden talks about that In my guerrilla interview, here. In contrast, All Things Will Unwind a much happier and optimistic atmosphere, leaning more towards chamber music and cabaret - thanks in no small part to the elaborate, fairy-tale tringel-trangel instrumentation.

Not exactly something I normally find very appealing with singer-songwriter music. After all, good musicians should SUFFER. Right? So I sat in the Bimhuis with some reservations. And, when Worden started bouncing merrily across the stage in her Sesame Street outfit and cartoon mask by way of opening, I feared the worst. 'This is going to be very shiny happy people!'

But then she starts singing...

And with disarming enthusiasm, she gets the audience to her feet. With the heartbreaking lullaby for her infant son, I Have Never Loved Someone to the closing track: the rocking Inside A Boy. Three times she has to come back for a encore. Including a spectacular version of Nina Simone's iconic performance of Feeling Good. And so I leave the room. Deeply touched. Feeling good.

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Daniel Bertina

/// Freelance cultural journalist, critic, writer and dramatist. Omnivore with a love of art, culture & media in all unfathomable gradations between obscure underground and wildly commercial mainstream. Also works for Het Parool and VPRO. And trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.View Author posts

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