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‘A completely absorbing experience’: BLACK MATTER – Crazy Coqs (Online review) ★★★★★

Giles Terera’s song cycle shows exactly how powerful music can be in highlighting important issues.

Recorded at the Crazy Coqs, this stylish and impassioned song cycle created and performed by Giles Terera covers a huge range of topics that are important to him. It is not only a case of showcasing his phenomenal music (he accompanies himself on piano and guitar) skills but highlighting issues that have been at the forefront of his mind – based on observations in a measured way that is effective.

This is certainly something that he makes clear in the opening song ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ – every lyric makes an impact on the audience, with its great storytelling at the centre of it that brings the lyrics to life and make them feel relatable. It is clear that Terera has put a lot of time and thought into each and every song to talk about things that are important to him.

Each song also features a compassionate quality to them – as heard through the beautifully sensitive ‘Be Good To Yourself’ with its reassuring tone and performed with great depth and understanding by Terera. Every song speaks out and feels as though it speaks to different people in many different ways, but this song about treating yourself kindly is something that everyone can certainly relate to in terms of being trapped in our own headspace and being hard on ourselves.

Gorgeously lit, the intimate space of the Crazy Coqs ensures that the performance feels really personal and atmospheric in a way that allows the music to shine through the darkness. It particularly works through the performances of ‘Charing Cross Road’ and ‘These Things’ – two standout songs that showcase the strength of the songwriting skills on display here.

Throughout it all, Giles Terera shows just skilled he is – incorporating a variety of musical styles that really work with his silky smooth vocals, while his performances on the guitar and piano are incredible to listen to. Thanks to the way in which this song cycle has been recorded, the audience can really see how absorbed and passionate he is about these songs and the observations he has made over the last year to help create these detailed songs – highlighted in particular through ‘A Picture of Britain’ and ‘London Blues’.

Black Matter is an excellent song cycle filled with songs that do pack a punch in a understated way – but the performance from Terera ensures that the power of the message and the passion attached to the song really comes through. Well worth a watch as it is a completely absorbing experience.

By Emma Clarendon

Black Matter will be streamed from the 24th to the 31st March. Tickets are available to buy by visiting:


from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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