Meklit Hadero caught my attention during SXSW a couple years back, it was a video of an interview that ended with an exit via row boat. She explained what it means to be a cultural activist and a TED Fellow. She was so poised and has this low, joyous sort of tone to her speaking voice, I was curious to hear her music. I found the video for Leaving Soon and I was hooked. It’s one of those songs that gets you instantly.
Delving deeper, I learned Meklit was born in Ethiopia, spent childhood in Brooklyn and lived all over the U.S. This spring, I heard she was playing in NYC with a new outfit, the Fugees-esque CopperWire. I caught them onstage wearing aluminum foil headdresses and singing their mobile tech ode “Phone Home.”
Wherever Meklit goes, upright bass, brushed drums, trumpet and flute seem to follow. It’s a lovely combination to go with her acoustic guitar and husky vocalizing. And it suits her latest collaboration, with vintage crooner Quinn Deveaux.
Quinn Deveaux is from Oregon via Oakland and plays and sings in the Bay Area with his outfit The Blue Beat Review. Like Hadero, his influences are a blend of soul, folk and rock artists. His artful take on classics by Sam Cook or Ray Charles merge with re-envisioned indie rock interpretations. Together, Meklit and Quinn do sweet work with Arcade Fire’s Tunnels, a recent college radio hit. They play Le Poisson Rouge Wednesday, September 12.
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