Stamford Hill’s rising jazz star Francesca Mondi shines in Hackney’s Folklore
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 May 2017
The Hoxton venue was taken over for the launch of the debut EP Devil’s Door from Francesca Mondi, a soulful jazz singer who takes influences from across the globe
If you stumbled into the back room of Folklore on Thursday you might have thought you’d been transported to a bar in Lisbon’s trendy Bairro Alto neighbourhood.
Jazz with beautiful Portuguese lyrics rippled around the packed venue, as people crowded in to see a fresh new face on the Hackney scene.
The Hoxton venue was taken over for the launch of the debut EP Devil’s Door from Francesca Mondi, a soulful jazz singer who takes influences from across the globe.
The 26-year-old, from Stamford Hill, used Kickstarter last year to raise £3,380 to record the songs, which she has written over a lifetime of performing.
“Getting into jazz felt like a natural transition,” Mondi says. “I wanted the freedom and creativity that classical singing didn’t allow with the rigorous musicianship that pop didn’t seem to offer.”
She was eventually encouraged into using Kickstarter, and the money for the EP was raised in just three months.
The melodic tunes blend Amy Winehouse with Ella Fitzgerald, and are catchy to jazz fans and casual listeners alike.
When performing live the Italian even sang jazz in Portuguese, as well as brilliant tracks off the EP.
Mondi’s deep and soulful voice moves the songs on from their traditional form, and unusual arrangements with a fantastic backing band captivated the crowd, at the Hackney Road bar.
A highlight is the title track Devil’s Door with its swing rhythm, fantastic horn section and brilliant backing singers supplementing Mondi’s smooth vocals.
Break My Heart would not sound out of place during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Mondi said: “Folklore was a great place to debut my EP, literally 15 minutes from the hospital I was born in.
“It was amazing to make my first big step as an artist so close to my roots,” she says.
And the talented new artist, who has lived in Hackney her entire life, credits the borough’s thriving scene with helping her get her music out there.
“There are lots of jazz jams in Hackney like at Grow in Hackney Wick, The Old Ford Jazz Club and the Hackney Empire,” Mondi explains.
“What I especially like is the support for new music I’ve received.
“I feel like much of London’s jazz gets cornered into dinner party music and you can end up playing at ritzy hotels to octogenarians.
“But at Grow for example, the jam is full of young people as well as older, and the music is a bit more out there.”
Listen to Devil’s Door on soundcloud.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Hackney Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.