Seye @ The Folklore Rooms – 14/07/23
Updated: Jul 24
Palpable excitement hung in the air at The Folklore Rooms as the multi-talented Seye invited a sold-out crowd into a world finely crafted by him and his incredible band, with the debut of his solo venture.
Supported by jazz singer Amy Gadiaga, the anticipation and excited chatter amongst the audience quickly quietened when Gadiaga took to the stage. It might be intimidating supporting a musician like Seye, known for his remarkable work with artists such as KT Tunstall, Paloma Faith and Gorillaz, but one only had to close their eyes, and the room is transformed into an unassuming jazz club, hidden in the heart of a bustling city that you’re overjoyed to stumble upon - Gadiaga made that stage her own. The audience hung onto every word, riff, and run that was sung over double bass and keyboard accompaniment, captivated by Gadiaga’s dazzling tone.
Passionate ballads pulled at the heartstrings and lilting rhythmic tunes proved her ability to craft a range of songs; no matter the subject matter, they all had heart. With Gadiaga’s charming stage presence, one could only oblige when asked to clap rhythms, and couldn’t smile wide enough when rapturous applause filled the room at the end.
A short break, to the bar for another drink and outside for a smoke, and then back through the bookshelf entrance into the little Narnia that is The Folklore Rooms. A luscious intro of synthesizers and percussion supersede the budding anticipation and fill the room with swirling noise.
The drum kit eases into a steady rhythm over the instrumentals and Seye’s voice catches the wind, becoming the final instrument to come alive, and so begins A River. A beautiful reminder to ‘slow down’, his voice and lyrics delivers a safe place to land for weary hearts in this epic track that, like rivers (and indeed life), ebbs and flows. Gorgeous rich textures give the track a grandiose sound, an essence of symphony (that’s genuinely a little soul healing) and they marry with more inward stripped back moments of reflection. It’s the kind of song you’d play if you were sailing down a river deep in the forest, bathed in sunbeams.
Seye makes jokes to the relaxed laughter of the crowd, and likens the night to a wedding reception, a room filled with friendly faces, old and new, calling out the ‘dope reception vibes.' He shoutouts his brother, at which point the fire alarm randomly sirens for a few seconds. This might throw someone else off, but Seye belongs on that stage, quick to joke that he is ‘too hot’: cue more laughter.
Announcing A River as the next single, out on July 28th, he reveals his next track, Irish Goodbye. Instantly swept away in the up-tempo drums, this one has a groove to it. Still filled with golden hues, there’s a steady rhythm that makes this one a track you can to tap your toes to. As he showcases an effortless falsetto and a catchy chorus, he beckons you further into his world, cementing a sound and an undeniable musicianship.
The next track, Waveform, is Seye’s only current track on Spotify (in demo form). His prose is intimate, romantic and delivered so gently, hushed almost, it captures that gentle essence of finding peace in the arms of another, and how you change, for the better when you find that peace: “taking my time, and I’m doing it right, when I’m in your arms, losing myself in the magic you are”. It feels even more special to see Seye’s ‘wonderful missus’ in the room, making it one of the most romantic songs I’ve discovered recently.
These are love songs, to friends, to family, to lovers and to music. Songs that move in perpetual motion, where the melodies, the rhythms and stories have time to rise and fall, intertwining with each other to create this lush landscape of music that is so alive.
He performs songs that were finished the week before, old songs from years ago, and invites Gadiaga and her keyboardist back on stage for a track they’ve rehearsed only once, all with ease. Junction, the stunning jazzy ballad with Gadiaga on the bass, highlights the sheer ingenuity of Seye, and the band, to dip in and out of musical worlds. This might be his solo debut, but Seye clearly knows how to put on a show.
Thanking the audience, it would be wrong not to highlight his authentic connection with the crowd. A sincere display of his gratitude, the applause was so very well deserved; Seye’s solo debut at The Folklore Rooms was nothing short of outstanding and marks the first page of an exciting chapter in his musical journey.
Words by Etienne Ferenc
Folklore Sessions returns on the 15th August at The Folklore Rooms for the monthly showcase.