Portrait Ark****

It’s all in the voice and, in a year dominated by strong female singers on all fronts, Josephine Oniyama stands out from the crowd in this regard. The Manchester-born singer is blessed with one of those warm, gentle and superbly toned voices that makes any song seem effortless.There’s a lovely, soulful, folky blur to I Think It Was Love, as the song swells and builds.

Oniyama is just as able when it comes to doing gentle and tender (the soft, sweet House of Mirrors) as she is with tunes with a groove in their heart such as Pepper Shaker or the spirited What a Day. You’ll hear traces of Minnie Riperton, Joni Mitchell and even Karen Dalton here, but Oniyama’s determined personality ensures she keeps her own counsel and never falls back on pastiche or imitation.

A strong, distinctive opening statement. josephineoniyama. com

Download tracks:I Think It Was Love, Pepper Shaker, What a Day

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