This is pop how it should be. Nilüfer Yanya plays the Mojo in Hamburg. A young girl creates her own sound, her own world: with touches of jazz chords, modern guitar sounds (think King Krule or The XX, funky rhythms, a somewhat punkish attitude and even small bits of drone. With a delivery that feeds itself on juvenile arrogance and shyness at the same time.
When she performs her tunes she appears confident of her sound while in between songs she breaks into a lovely smile that displays her shyness.
The Return to Hamburg
That really hasn‘t changed much from last year when she appeared for the first time in hamburg at the Reeperbahn festival. Now seven months later at the Mojo Jazz Cafe she sports a red corsage with wide slacks and trainers and has added up even more confidence with her songs on stage. Even if she comes across younger than her 23 years, she is actually playing guitar for more than 10 years now and it shows. Her fingers easily glide on the neck. Rhythmic feel and harmonics are way beyond what is expected from well known guitar men double her age.
The Mojo Cafe is a cosy place and not exactly the Madison Square Garden but that isn’t the right place for her anyway. For tonight the enthusiastic audience standing tightly in front of the stage and sings along to the well known tunes. In front of Nilüfers proud family in the front row who accompany her on the european tour.
The three young cats with her on stage blend in remarkably with Nilüfers delivery. Vocal Harmonies, some keyboard touches, non-rock drumming and some sounds from the saxophone give those songs a suspense that lasts way longer than those repeated eight bars on any given “modern” pop song of today. But to be able to enjoy her music, the listener has to put his finger off the Skip Button. To capture the full beauty of the compositions it needs more than those 20-Second-Rule at Spotify. Often the Chorus leads the verse into another direction, rhythm and melody. A new song like “Heavyweight Champion of the Year” even omits obvious hooks or melodies.
Way ahead and way behind at the same time?
That is why Nilüfer seems to come from another time of pop. Her sound, developed while listening to Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and The Pixies, seems to be a bit out of place for today’s radio programme. With her youth, talent and attitude she would have easily stormed the charts in the early 1980s in Britain sitting well amongst artists like The Associates, Laurie Anderson or The Specials. Nowadays talent seems to no longer of help on the way to world domination.
And her interest goes beyond new sounds and stories. She started the initiative, Artists in Transit, with her sister Molly. They went to athens to refugee camps and squats to help. From work, food distribution and admin to art classes, sports and games.
With three limited EPs out we can expect the long player in summer when Nilüfer Yanya plays in Hamburg for the third time adding to her name to the artists at the Dockville festival. You shouldn’t miss her this time.
P.S: Quite clearly, i am no native speaker of the english Язык. So please bear with me and give me a hint if i have made serious mistakes. Thank you