Louise Carver - The Home Tour Live
Sure, it's an obvious career move to build your brand by including a few hand picked covers of Proudly South African classics in your live set. But if you're going to take on some of Bright Blue, Brenda Fassie, and Johnny Clegg's biggest hits you best have some serious interpretative chops. Turns out Louise Carver has.
Reimagining Clegg's "Spirit of the Great Heart" as a simple piano, bongo drum and backing chorus clap-athon might not please the palette of every Afro-pop purist, but the sentiments at the core of Johnny's Ubuntu quest remain sincere. Her moving rendition of Mango Groove's "Moments Away" is equally unfussy, with Louise almost cloning Claire Johnston's original serenade in sensitivity, if not quite subtletly.
There are couple of less successful, more 'extreme' makeovers though. The merits of translating a funky pop reggae floor filler like Eddy Grant's "Give Me Hope Joanna" into a mournful unplugged ballad ache is questionable, especially if you remember Dr Victor's soulful redemption song rendition from back in the day. And then there's Brenda's "Too Late For Mama". While her adult contemporray kwela pop filtered interpertation of the Chicco Twala-penned anthem is an aptly impassioned ode to women, it's difficult to discern any of Ma Brr's infamously feisty funk percolating beneath more perfectly toned chick pop confessionals such as "Empty Fantasty" and "Didn't Mean To Call".
Still, as road maps to coax audiences into (re)discovering her own original craft, the covers largely do the trick. It is suprising though that Louise didn't opt to cover classics by legendary SA songbirds like say, Lesley Rae Dowling, PJ Powers or hell, even international songstresses such as Sarah McLachlan ("Hold My Hand") or The Cranberries ("Impossible Love", "The Only Thing") given their unmistakable echoes in her own strong 'n sensitive relationship scrapbook (cf. "It Don't Matter", "Move Closer", "Harder Than I Thought").
"Tonight isn't just about my music, it's about celebrating those songwriters that inspired me growing up and I'm sure you" says Louise Carver as she segues from homesick radio hit "Home" into a piano powered ballad reading of Bright Blue's epochal African ode "Weeping".
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