A nicely packed, candlelit Workman’s club greeted Linnea as she came on stage to perform the first gig of her UK and Ireland tour of her debut album Ah! After sneaking onstage and setting up her cello and loop station she started playing the haunting strains of “The Ocean” – the opening instrumental track of the album. The crowd quickly quietened down and listened intently as she layered line upon line of delicate sounds and melodies invoking the sea.
From then on she had us all enthralled. The combination of voice and cello is a total winner especially when the performer is as talented and experienced as Linnea. She comes from a classical background and this shows in her intricate cello playing. She really knows how to work a loop station too! Despite a couple of technical hitches (which she expertly brushed over without much fuss at all) her use of layering was subtle and provided an almost orchestral backing to her songs through rich layers of delay-affected cello.
Highlights for me were “Never Again” a steady pulse driven track in which her voice soars and floats above the cello in an ethereal fashion. “Summer” was also
a spin tingling experience. She introduced the song bemoaning the long Winter we’re having (for which she got the appropriate response from the audience) and wishing for the Summer to come quickly. Here she added delay to her voice as well and her voice became almost operatic at points.
She tried out couple of new songs as well, one of which was a vocally layered piece (without cello) about her family called “I am younger” which she clearly had a strong emotional attachment too. She said it had her bawling in rehearsal and you could see why as she belted out her repeated declaration of love at the end. Powerful stuff indeed!
“Dinosaur” wrapped up the gig for us in a playful and cheerful manner as she skilfully used her cello once again as both a melodic and percussive instrument
to accompany her voice. The crowd were loving it and after a largely standing ovation got her back on stage for an encore for which she played her version of Björk’s “Unravel”.
A great gig and Linnea is definitely one to check out next time she’s in town, which will hopefully be soon! In the meantime buy her album Ah!
Words and Images by Judith Ring