As I walked down Broad Street I could hear the welcoming whine of the sitar floating its way out of Rough Trade’s door. Top Nottingham instrumentalist Lance Hume sat in the entrance, welcoming punters with a beautiful dab of things to come. Up the stairs, and the EP was for sale for just a fiver, candlelight chucking its glint onto the stacks of plastic CD cases.
The songs from The Enlightening album represent the seven different Chakras. Looking around the room, there was some obvious thought, consideration and effort made to bring the evening in line with the theme. There was even some chakra stencil spraying going on – pick your chakra stencil, pick your colour, and get spraying. Win – a momento to walk away with and you get to feel well arteh.
The solo support act of the evening was Jude Winwood on the kora. Beautifully delicate vibes with such attention to detail, her string plucking was the perfect entrancing start to the evening as smoke machines kicked out some weighty smog and rainbow beams of light filled the room.
Incense lit, and the man of the moment was ready to kick out the album live, in its entirety. Trekkah informed us that 24 international artists have played a part in its creation – the excitement built as we had no idea what to expect.
Trekkah stood behind a couple of MacBooks, conductor to the soundwaves. The first featured vocalist was the pint-brandishing Frazer Lowrie, whose mouth gaped sad and lonely, belting out the word ‘Desire’ and threading more lyrics and hardship through a wallop of a dark beat. Masked dancer Jamal Sterrett emerged from the side stage, stop-start popping and melting with the tune to create a real spectacle.
Next up, Firenza was featured vocalist — the music took a bit more of an upbeat, sultry disco turn alongside the introduction of flute player Ed Reisner. And as the lighting colour moved from red to yellow, Bud hit the stage with her gorgeously interesting Nora Jones-esque voice. Ed had swapped the flute for a saxophone as the City Bird warbled about falling out of love. A major highlight.
Lance Hume and Motormouf were next to feature, with more of a gritty hip hop feel emanating from the beats. That bleddy sitar was the perfect fit, and Motormouf’s ordinarily jokily contorted face pushed out more of a smoulder. As he walked off stage halfway through the song, he claimed the title of Official Badass. His voice still echoed from the speakers despite his absence, in a more spoken word style – omnipotent smash.
Lance and his sitar stayed put on the stage, joined again by Ed on the flute. Vocalist Mina belted out elongated notes of whispery, raspy vocals that built into well-held howls. Ed was back on the sax, and fellow GOA Choir member Janette sang alongisde him in Spanish, providing one of the most charged and energetic performances of the evening.
Back to Mina, and the tunes started to take a more bassy, dubby turn. Mina's emotive voice fell into the vibrations perfectly, while providing something totally fresh and genreless. Next up, Trekkah's 'wing man' Ed traded in the instruments for his voice. Transforming from a humble instrumentalist into stage dominator, his feature was a peak in the evening. The music loomed into spooky panic and chaos through blue strobes, and Ed moved from slow to quick pace with his words, owning the tune. Massive, unusual, and left me wanting more.
The next tune featured Sabrina Sandhu who unfortunately couldn't be there on the evening, but Trekkah and Lance played the instrumental version which was really beautiful and got bodies into a Thursday-night sway.
Suddenly, a Bru-C appeared alongside violin player Ursula. A really interesting mashup of styles championed by the pair's performance – I've never seen owt quite like it. A grime emcee plus violin, and it worked so well. Winding down the end to the evening was Natti, vocals pure and considered as ever. The beat really reminded me of Pentatronix but a little more wound down with Natti's hypnotic way.
Topping off the evening was the legendary Percy Dread, with a light, plinky and youthful tune that was kind of garage-esque, panpipe sounds pushing their way through. Percy Dread's performance never fails to impress, and on that note, it was the end of the evening...
...not before I sprayed mesen a Chakra though.
Trekkah's The Enlightening Album Launch was at Rough Trade, Tuesday 18 October 2016. The Enlightening is available now on iTunes
Trekkah on YMCA Digital
GOA Choir's Honey Williams interview
Frazer Lowrie interview