Event Review: Liraz @ The Jazz Cafe (London; Wednesday 3rd November 2021)
With Liraz there are no half measures and once she’s on stage, you end up following her unconditionally. You are initially tantalised by her glittery electro-pop world by the Middle Eastern-scented aromatic vibes of her tunes, then she entraps you in it with her stage presence, dedication and social commitment demonstrating one more time that music is far more than notes.
The Jazz Cafe in Camden last Wednesday was Liraz’ first ever show in London. The Israeli-Persian artist, who rose to fame thanks to her acting career, recently built up a name as a singer/songwriter as well, releasing two globally appreciated albums (Naz and Zan) and refining a catchy, but never cheesy, electro-pop sound inspired by her Persian origins and Israeli present.
What’s more, Liraz fully employs the popularity and reach she gained over the years to awaken people’s consciousness. Over her actress and musician’s clothes, she proudly and loudly wears cultural activist and campaigner ones. She’s indeed emphatic and passionate not only when she acts or sings, but also when she claims and fights for women’s (Iranian in particular) rights and voice.
Last Wednesday’s event couldn’t start in a more apt way than with an official recognition of her commitment, as well as musical success, under the guise of the Songlines Artist Award, which she received just before her gig and eventually dedicated to all the Iranian women and their daily struggle.
What followed was the performance of a musical star in the making. With her “standard” brunette bob and razor-sharp, vivid gaze, she set the gig in motion with the singsong-like cadence of “Zan Bezan” nodding at an adoring crowd filling the North London venue to the brim. Then, supported by her trusted band members, which formed (including her) a sextet equally counting on female and male musicians (as she was keen to highlight), Liraz brought to life her first two studio albums almost in their entirety.
Throughout her set, which went on for well over an hour, the Tel Aviv-based artist recalled her first musical steps as well as the latest ones ranging from five-year old songs like “Mahtab” and “Zentegi” to the latest singles “Injah” and “Bia Bia”, often followed by the audience who showed they knew her lyrics word-by-word.
Before the overwhelmingly demanded encore, Liraz also found time to revive a 1970s song by Iranian diva Googoosh, “the Voice of Iran”, who (like every Iranian female singer) was banned from performing in front of an audience after the 1979 Revolution.
Sadly, the pandemic didn’t allow Liraz to promote and perform Zan, which was released exactly one year ago by Glitterbeat Records, as much as she wanted. But now she is finally making up for the lost time with an ongoing Euro tour and plenty more dates coming up in 2022. So, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the drive and spirit of a tenacious woman as well as the talent of an electrifying musician.
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