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LIVE: SUBA Trio – The Wardrobe, Leeds, 10/05/2024

through the noise’s exciting vision of bringing classical music to independent grassroots venues began to emerge during the first Coronavirus lockdown of 2020. Since that time their crowdfunded concert initiative noisenights has gathered some serious momentum. As part of its extensive musical programme for the first six months of this year, a grand total of 81 new noisenights across 21 UK and European towns and cities, including 17 tours and three exclusive solo performances, were scheduled.

Seven of those performances were listed for Leeds and the fifth of these takes place tonight at The Wardrobe live music venue and arts space lying deep in the heart of the West Yorkshire city’s cultural quarter. It features the brilliant SUBA Trio, an all-star collaboration between the seven-time Grammy-nominated Cuban pianist, Omar Sosa, Senegalese kora maestro, Seckou Keita, and the virtuoso percussionist from Venezuela, Gustavo Ovalles.

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Omar Sosa of SUBA Trio

Much like the key principles held by through the noise, the music of SUBA Trio is about challenging preconceptions and breaking down barriers. For through the noise their raison d’être relates to a blurring of boundaries between musical worlds. In SUBA Trio’s case their music takes the listener across different continents, from Africa to the Americas.

Featuring material taken from Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita’s superb 2021 album, SUBA – meaning “sunrise” in Keita’s native language of Mandinka – the concert captures the very essence of the record’s title.  It symbolises warmth, growth, hope, and perhaps for those in the audience not already familiar with the music, an awakening, a new beginning.

 The three musicians take us all on a journey of discovery, the unshakeable faith they have in each other and the individual and collective joy they exude translates easily to this packed Friday night crowd who are already in the mood to party. Encouraged further by Seckou Keita they are only too happy to “sing, clap, and smile” along to this rich, dynamic and thoroughly engaging sound.

In perfect unison with each other, the SUBA trio reflect their individual origins through a series of effervescent tunes that embrace rippling Caribbean textures and syncopated West African rhythms which are all held together by such a soulful Afro-Venezuelan connection. The music is as subtle as it is intricate and the resulting combination of piano, kora, and percussion is frequently mesmerising.  And when Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita move to the front of the stage and begin to dance the evening moves into another dimension of playful abandon. It all makes for a night of undiluted reverie and a further triumph for through the noise.

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Photos: Simon Godley

More photos of SUBA Trio at The Wardrobe, Leeds

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.