For the June Retune, our audience was treated to an eclectic mix of live music: Jazz-funk outfit Vertaal, emotive singer/songwriter Charlie Turner and musical theatre-trained Fionnuala Shakespeare. It was another tremendous evening.
Fionnuala was the first to take the stage following an introduction from Retune founder Tom Ryder. Tom accompanied Fionnuala on guitar as she performed Defying Gravity from Wicked, Make You Feel My Love by Adele and a rousing rendition of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman. Her voice is as clear as bell, she has great range, and really grew in confidence as her set went on.
Charlie Turner has been a stalwart on the Bishop’s Stortford music scene for many years, both as a performer and writer. Nowadays she writes solely for other artists and has enjoyed some fantastic collaborations over the past few years. Accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she demonstrated what a prolific and insightful songwriter she is. Particularly powerful were her songs about a character being the man of the house and one track called ‘Medication’ that rang chillingly true. She also treated us to versions of Jolene by Dolly Parton and Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver, which had the crowd singing along. A bit of crowd participation is always encouraged at Retune!
Vertaal, performing as a five-piece, comprises stunning musicians. Founding members Theo Howarth (keys) and Ajit Gill (drums) are very fine players indeed, and they were enhanced further by Warren Woodcraft (bass), Si Todd (percussion) and Loren Hignall (saxophone). What followed was a lesson in virtuosic and complex playing. Vertaal communicate with each other musically and indicate changes in the sections of their music merely by gestures and eye contact. They have a great understanding, and their effect on both the ears and eyes was mesmeric. It was very interesting to see how each player has a licence to really express themselves as an individual musician, yet as a collective they are super tight. Sound engineer Tom Rountree was putting the smoke machine and lighting rig to good use during the Vertaal set, which added to the drama.
We saw a lot of new faces at the June event, which was indicative of the diverse range of music on display. We hope that they will be back, and if you’d like to attend a future Retune, check out our upcoming shows here.