Holy Moly's lively dance folk stylings got everyone nicely warmed up and ready for our headline act Hannabiell & Midnight Blue. Personally I would say that the name of this band suggests a sort of smooth, chilled, sort of jazz outfit, fronted by a female vocalist with a sultry voice. However they are nothing like that and are in fact an energetic, all out afro-beat, tribal funk, band fronted by a sassy no- mess Bostonian out to get the crowd moving. Essentially - they're flipping awesome!
(Photo by Alan Chun from the Hannabiell.com website)
I first discovered this band at a friend's African celebration event two or three years ago. At that event the band's two leading ladies took centre stage, Yilis on the drums and Hannabiell shifting between drums and a massive bass trombone. Just the two of them alone made some serious noise and were mightily impressive. I kind of forgot about them but at some point when organising the acts their name arose, and after watching some gig footage of them and their band I quickly got in contact. Luckily for us the band was available, because they're pretty busy (unsurprisingly given how fab they are). I found out from one of our guests a few weeks after later, that our little festival was their third gig of the day - wow!
I'm not quite sure the crowd knew what to make of them when they first came on, as Hannabiell's first port of call was to insist that everyone came closer to the front of the stage. Her bubbly Bostonian tones finally coaxed everyone to the front.
First the drums kicked in - these ladies' drumming skills are awe inspiring to watch. Then the brass from their band mates started and not long after that the trombone came, followed shortly with a rave whistle to set off the tribal drumming. By the end of the first song practically everyone was dancing.
I can't remember the last time I danced that energetically, especially in wellies:
Getting down with tribal sounds, Dave took the opportunity to whip of his tie and use it as a head band. This combined with his rave inspired waistcoat and some purple fairy wings, he looked like he'd just stepped off a carnival float.
It was ace seeing everyone up dancing and having such a great time.
Then came the icing on the already very tasty cake: after their last song, Hannabiel announced that she needed volunteers from the audience to help the band out. Off course she had LOTS of takers including Dave. Each volunteer was given some kind of percussion instrument and one by one after Yilis and Hannabiell introduced a beat, each was instructed to join in with their contribution. Seeing everyone taking part on stage and the audience's surprise was just fantastic. Even thinking about this now brings a massive smile to my face. Here's Dave up on stage, concentrating hard to stay in time -
All of our guests absolutely loved them and for the rest of the night people kept asking me where I'd found them and how I knew about them.
Its impossible to get an idea of what this band sound like from my description and the photos alone so I was over the moon to learn that one of the guests captured some of their set on film and here it is:
Hope you enjoyed the post. Back next week for the last one.