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NORTHERN SOUL GIRL - LEVANNA MCLEAN, the new face of Northern Soul, talks!

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 13:07 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Lev_cover_picNorthern Soul? That's for old folks, isn't it? Well, not any more - and certainly not if 18-year-old LEVANNA MCLEAN has anything to do with it. She's young, bright, pretty and talented and there's nothing she likes doing more than moving around on the dance floor with spins and kicks to a pounding '60s soul groove. "There are so many young people into it now," declares the enthusiastic Bristol-based student-turned-dancer-and-DJ whose videos depicting her dancing in various locations to Northern Soul tracks has achieved a phenomenal 1.5 million YouTube hits. "I've got loads of young friends who are into it," she reveals. "People don't think of it as young people's music but there's a whole new generation on the scene at the moment."

It's a common misconception, though, that the UK's Northern Soul scene - which has experienced several moments of crossover resurgence during the last thirty years and steadfastly refuses to die - is comprised of middle-aged soul fanatics for whom the 1970s never ended. While some commentators will argue that there's more than a grain of truth to that particular perspective, LEVANNA MCLEAN - aka 'Northern Soul Girl' - conclusively demonstrates that the Northern Soul Scene is not the sole preserve of those approaching bus pass status.

In addition to her YouTube fame, Lev - as she likes to be called - also found herself in the spotlight last year when she performed a Northern Soul dance routine alongside US R&B superstar Pharrell Williams to his hit 'Happy' during his performance at the Brit Awards. Given her popularity, then, and the fact that Northern Soul's crossover appeal is in the ascendancy (evidenced by the appearance of Northern Soul-associated songs on several recent TV adverts), it's no surprise that a record company is aiming to capitalise on 'Northern Soul Girl's potential to promote the music that she loves and attract younger listeners. In fact, the personable teenager has just signed a deal with Universal Music and the first fruit of their liaison is that the dancer's picture adorns the company's forthcoming compilation 'Move On Up - The Very Best Of Northern Soul,' which is released 16th March.

Comprising a whopping 75 tracks that include hits from familiar soul stars such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield alongside rarities from more esoteric acts like The Vel Vets, Tony Galla, and Rita & The Tiaras, the compilation offers a vivid sonic snapshot that captures the essence of the Northern Soul scene.

In a recent interview with SJF's Charles Waring, Lev talks about her passion for Northern Soul, the impact it's had on her life and her ambitions for the future...


Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:05



Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:55 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

Kenya_-_SkinKENYA (JOHNSON) is a rising star of the Chicago soul circuit and her eagerly-awaited debut solo album, 'My Own Skin', is all set for mid March release on Expansion Records.

Late last year, the set's lead single – the lazy, jazzy 'Wednesday Girl' got soul heads buzzing and the anticipation for the LP was cranked up when Kenya and her team delivered a fab 'Knights Over Egypt' remix... for which the source is obvious.

The album's title track has just been released , a few weeks ahead of the long player. Produced by Kloud 9's Kendall, it's a classy, Latin-tinged dancer that will set feet tapping and heads nodding. It's proper "modern" soul... that's to say totally contemporary rather than retro. It's all looking good for the album and be assured we'll bring you the review just as soon as we can.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:59



Wednesday, 04 March 2015 10:40 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

gina_carey_remixes_picGINA CAREY has managed to turn a lot of heads (and ears) with her latest album, 'The Soul Singer'. (see our Reviews Pages). The set's biggest tune is the self-explanatory 'Dance' - a simple call to the floor driven by a funk undertow and a rumbling bass line.

The song's just been given the remix treatment courtesy of Nigel Lowis and Blazing Encore. Lowis, who produced some of Dina Carroll's biggest hits and worked with the likes of Eternal, Adeva, Michelle Gayle and BeBe Winans, has given the song a thoroughly modern soul makeover and connoisseurs might detect a hint of the Drizabones about it. Whatever, it's a great little modern soul foot-tapper. It comes in a lengthy six minute plus version but Nigel ensures there's enough going on to ensure that there's interest throughout. For pressed radio programmers there's also a four minute edit that focuses on the essential magic.

For his tweak, London-based veteran soul funkster, Blazing Encore (Paul Hemingway) has retained the commitment in Gina's delivery along with the chinking, blues-based guitar playing of her husband, John. The result is a moody six minutes worth of neo funk with just a hint of classic 60s soul-jazz about it.

The remixes will be available from 23rd March. The 'Soul Singer' album is out now.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2015 11:00



Monday, 02 March 2015 15:14 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

charmayne-maxee-maxwell1CHARMAYNE "MAXEE" MAXWELL, sometime member of BROWNSTONE, died on Friday 27th February. She was just 46. Her death was the result of a freak domestic accident at her Los Angeles home. It's reported that Charmayne had come home from her son's soccer game on Friday evening, and was home alone with him. Later in the evening ... around 9 PM her husband, Danish music producer Carsten "Soulshock" Schack, came home and found her unconscious and bleeding. It seems that Charmayne had fallen and cut her neck on glass ... she was bleeding profusely, but still had a pulse. Her husband called 911, and paramedics transported her to Cedars of Sinai Hospital ... but she had lost too much blood. We're told she died on the way to the hospital. LAPD went to the home ... and have reported that it was a broken wine glass which cut Charmayne's neck. Detectives do not suspect foul play. Danish media outlets offer a different twist, saying that Charmayne fell during her son's soccer match

Ms Maxwell was a member of Brownstone between 1994 and 1998, later rejoining the group , sporadically, between 2007 and 2015. The two other original members were Nichole Gilbert and Monica Doby and the band was formed in LA and eventually signed to Michael Jackson's' MJJ label. Doby was eventually replaced by Kinas Cosper but the hits quickly dried up and the trio disbanded in 1998.

Grammy-nominated, Brownstone are best remembered for their hit 'If You Love Me' but they also enjoyed success with the singles 'Grapevyne', 'Pass The Lovin'', and 'I Can't Tell You Why' (the old Eagles song). Charmayne also released a solo single entitled 'When I Look Into Your Eyes' in 2000.


Last Updated on Monday, 02 March 2015 15:19



Saturday, 28 February 2015 15:21 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

rob_liveProper old school soul comes to the Jazz cafe when the remarkable ROBIN MCKELLE brings her full show to the venerable old venue.

ROBIN and her band, the FLYTONES will be appearing at the Camden club on Thursday 19th March and, at the moment, it's the soulstress' only scheduled gig in the UK this year. The advice is to catch her while you can as she spends most of the year touring in France, where, by all accounts, she pulls out special performances each and every time she hits the stage. Indeed in France she's regarded as a soul superstar!

Robin will be featuring music from her two most recent albums - 'Heart Of Memphis' and 'Soul Flower' which featured, of course, the classic 'Fairytale Ending'.

For the show Ms McKelle will be supported by Dutch funk combo, Tristan who are bringing over Atlanta-based soul man Heston to join them for the night... he's featured on the band's latest single.

Check with the Jazz cafe for full details.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 February 2015 15:26




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