Nexus Arts – 6pm Sun March10th

review by Gary Clarke – 5 Stars

Delia Olem is a multi talented performer equally at home in theatre, cabaret, music, as a singer, lyricist,writer and Cellist. On this night she also introduced us to an Appalachian dulcimer crafted by her father. The premise of the show centres mainly around the translated verse of mid 19th century Persian poet, activist and revolutionary Tahirih. A woman who defied convention to spark a fire of change for the equality and dignity of all.

The Persian King was so smitten he even offered to marry her if she would give up her quest. To her credit she stood her ground despite the consequences. Such a perfect icon to represent the aspirations of all women and indeed a saner more truly equitable world in the wake of the recent celebration of International Women’s Day.

Delia is joined on stage by Eagleheart Birdsong masterfully playing Cello and Double Bass together with some beautiful heartfelt singing. This show was designed as a vehicle to launch their latest album and was a sold out, one show only performance which Delia described as the birth of a new collaboration. With more albums to come.

Nexus as a venue is perfect for performance especially music and the human voice. The sound system, mixing and acoustics were top notch despite some very minor anomalies that were handled with grace, aplomb and good humour by our hosts.

The atmosphere was warm and friendly and the audience were so obviously primed to enjoy this performance. Delia’s father, mother, her 3 children and the graphic artist who painted the backdrop to the stage which features on the cover of the new album were joined by many loyal fans to welcome this talented duo to the stage.

Delia was delightful, both as a raconteur/comedian and as a singer/musician, entertaining us with tales and observations of life and love. Eagleheart was the ideal accompaniment. Her voice a perfect match with Delia’s while she skillfully stroked her Cello into a beautiful soundscape with Delia’s rapturous voice taking flight. The music and song expressed such emotional complexity one’s heart could do nought but also take wing. At one stage Delia coaxed her dad to join her to sing the male role in a Persian ballad. His voice was lovely and the combination of the 3 voices weaved beautifully through the song.

Eagleheart switched to Double Bass and things got “sassy” Delia reached down into her soul and belted out songs in French, Spanish, English and even Tahitian!

The audience were co-opted into participating in a brilliant Tahitian folk song about breadfruit. This was a lesson in dancing Tahitian style using our hand gestures to tell the story. And all 150 of us joined in as one, waving our arms in harmony and singing. Then we did it all in Spanish! The warmth and love in the room was palpable.

As the night closed in all good things must end and a highlight for me was the penultimate song , “Separation”, a poignant moving tale of loss as Tahirih’s life is about to end. It was deeply emotionally moving and it sent shivers down my spine.

Delia and Eagleheart closed the set with “Wondrous Vision” which we are told speaks to the relationship between the two performers in their music. It was rythmic, poetic, uplifting and inspirational. And I wasn’t alone. The audience were enraptured, delivering a rousing standing ovation.

And as Delia informed us “we have witnessed the birth of it” the birth of something special. Delia Olem and Eagleheart is a revelation and the future augurs well for their precociously talented progeny.

Review by

GARY CLARKE Kryztoff RAW – 5 stars

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