Finish the year on a musical high with Loah
Gig of the week: the Irish-Sierra Leonean artist’s music is a soulful celebration of life
Róisín Dubh, Galway, Sunday December 17th, 8pm, €12.50/€10 roisindubh.net
Twenty-seventeen has been a good year for Loah, but it’s been an even better year for her fans. Since Sallay Garnett’s very first gig as Loah in Twisted Pepper in 2013, she has become more confident in her style and her stage presence. But in the last 12 months, she’s cranked that up about 10 notches. When she weaved in Jill Scott covers into her setlist at the launch of her This Heart EP in the Sugar Club earlier this year, it became clear what Loah has her sights on: to become a musical touchstone for anyone who needs some emotional guidance.
The Irish-Sierra Leonean artist creates soulful songs that either get you moving or thinking, taking you from darkness into full-blown carnival mode. She brings together all of her musical influences – soul, punk and indie music – and weaves in tales of heartache, womanhood, friendship and her own heritage. On Cortege, she sings in Sherbro, a native language of Sierra Leone, and with her younger siblings Emma and Thomas sometimes appearing on backing vocals – each working on totally different solo material from the other – there is a lot of heart on stage. Her journey, and that of her siblings, feels like a celebration and when the whoops of encouragement become competitive from the crowd, the music then becomes encased in pride.
We haven’t been quiet about the fact that this has been a great year for Irish music, but it’s been a personal best for Loah. Not only has she left behind a trail of awe from every festival set she’s performed this summer, she recently made it on to the pages of Vogue, as part of The Celtic Cool Girl’s Guide to Dublin. To be officially deemed a “cool girl” by Vogue? Well done, Loah. That’s not something a lot of us can claim now, can we? But thankfully we know that she’s more than a cool girl. She is, as we would say, some woman for one woman.
This Róisín Dubh gig is Loah’s final Irish gig of 2017 with her full band (although you can catch her in a more intimate setting on December 21st in Marrowbone Books in Dublin 8), so help her finish up the year in style. Use this gig as a chance to acknowledge everything she’s accomplished this year and as a way to encourage even more in 2018.