August 23, 2017

Loah brings us a mix of Delta blues, Jamaican disco and Naija Afrobeat.

In May 2017, Loah released her debut EP 'This Heart'. A beguiling fusion of soul, folk and world music influences, it showcases an artist who has truly found her own voice. From the sleek 'Cortège' sung in the Sierra Leonean languages of Sherbro and Mende, to the diaphonous R&B leanings of the EPs title track, 'This Heart' is a varied and accomplished collection that rewards repeated listens.

As expected, Loah's Spotify playlist for Other Voices, is a diverse and illuminating mix of tracks, featuring introspective singer-songwriters, disco divas and jazz virtuosos. Of the playlist, Loah (also known as Sallay Garnett) says:

"In general, I opted for tunes that I've loved for a long time and artists who've been a profound influence such as Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Erykah Badu, with some new jams that I'm adoring (Tekno, J Hus) thrown in to keep her lit! It's a prime example of what swirls around my head - Enjoy".

The first track Loah highlights, is the infectious Oumou Sangaré track 'Ah Ndiya' - "Oumou is one of my favourite artists of all time. She's inspiring musically, artistically and politically. This tune is from her first record in 1989 and it's a banger". There's similar praise for the legendary diva Grace Jones, cited as "another iconic queen I take mad inspiration from". Speaking of the track 'My Jamaican Guy', Sallay says "this tune is pure class and a funky fact is that my mum's first cousin (she has Jamaican heritage) mixed it". Reaching back to the Delta Blues, the playlist also features the 1937 recording of 'Love In Vain' by Robert Johnson - "This is one of my favourite songs in the world. If ever I get frustrated artistically or just in general, I return to it and it soothes me. It's always this special reminder of what one man and a guitar can do for the soul".

Takeover :: Loah

Sallay also selects some recent releases, such as SZA's 'Love Galore' - "SZA dropped her debut album in June and she's been soundtracking my life since then. Her exposure of her every vulnerability lyrically in contrast to her total vocal command and production swag is sheer captivating". Mura Masa's track 'Nuggets', is also highlighted as a recent favourite - "I started listening to Mura Masa only recently and I'm completely enthralled and in love. His beats get into your very skin and his collaborations are so broad yet effortless (from Damon Albarn to A$AP Rocky to Moses Boyd!) that I'm sure he's going to have a glittering and wonderful career. This track with Bonzai, an amazing Dublin queen based in London, is pure fire".

Loah also gives us a window into modern Afrobeat with the Tekno track 'Pena' - "The Afrobeat scene centred around Nigeria and Ghana is driving me crazy at the moment and Tekno is one of its finest craftsmen". We also get a healthy dose of improv jazz courtesy of Christian Scott's version of The Eraser - "A marriage of two of the best things in life - incredible improvised music and Thom Yorke. Scott's interpretation of Yorke's tune Eraser with his jazz quintet is explosive, reverent reinvention at its finest". Flying Lotus and the track 'Coronus, The Terminator', is singled out as a direct inspiration for Loah's songwriting, highlighting the impact it had on her must recent release: "Flying Lotus is a genius. The subtle, beautiful, eerie production on Coronus moved me so much the first time I heard it that I sat down to write what became This Heart, the title track off my EP".

Don't miss Loah, when she joins us on the Other Voices stage at this year's Electric Picnic.

Words: Danny Carroll Photo: Tara Thomas

This Heart