Last Wednesday I found out that Ivana Santilli was playing a show at The Ballet. Unbeknownst to me, she had a residency there for the whole month, and of course, I managed to miss every show she had done. However, I also found out that Ivana’s last show was Friday, October 25th, and you know for a fact that I wasn`t going to miss out on that.
I had never seen Ivana Santilli live until that night. Ever. What a damn shame it has taken me so long. She was down to earth, vibrant and so full of spunk. Her energy with her band The Only Sound was palpable and everyone in house fed off of it. Let me not forget to mention, Grammy-winning producer, writer, multi-instrumentalist, Sade bad man sidekick, Sweetback funkster, Maxwell supporter and all-around cool guy Cottonbelly aka Stuart Matthewman was in the house performing alongside Ivana. Trust me when I say, we were in for a night of tremendous music and vibes.
Ivana laced the evening with old joints, new tracks, a couple of Sade favourites and a Maxwell and Sweetback cover. It was absolutely sublime. She has two new tracks that really hit hard for me. The first one to grab me with its bombastic reggae and soul-infused sound was ”Lovers Love 2 Rock,” while the other track ”Forever For Now” got my attention with a solid drum n’ bass fever that seriously kicks. She took us back with a favourite from her debut solo album Brown – ”Sun + Moon = Tomorrow’’ still goes hard, my friends! Ivana jumped offstage to boogie with me during her Chic ‘’I Want Your Love’’ rendition of ”I Cry” (y’all who know me know how much of a Chic stan I am, so that was my highlight of the night), and the lady also jumped on her trumpet during the trumpet riffs in the instrumentation of the song. How sexy is that!? Stuart Matthewman joined Ivana for a good portion of the evening on many songs, but he surely made his guitar wail on ‘’Cherish the Day’’ and backed up Ivana on Sweetback’s hit song ‘’You Will Rise.’’ Another highlight of the night would definitely be Wade O. Brown joining Ivana on a duet covering Maxwell’s ”Whenever Wherever Whatever.’’ It was a performance that would have made Maxwell beam from ear to ear. Here’s a snippet (I’m having technical difficulties with my video at the moment, so enjoy this for now):
The evening was exactly what I needed. Considering there were 3 other places that I was invited to go, I can truly say there was no other place that I would have rather been. What a soiree. Now I patiently wait for the release of Ms. Santilli’s new album Late Night Light. You know I will again be talking about Ivana on these pages very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
***REMINDER: Catch me this Sunday for The Rhythm with AMC over on Fullasoul.com at 2 PM for musical goodies like Ivana Santilli, Ro James, Amel Larrieux and more. Hear you then!