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by Chris Gibbons
August 24, 2002

Bermudian singer-songwriter Heather Nova returned home in triumph last night for her first local show in more than two years when she performed at the Ruth Seaton James Centre. Unlike her last Bermuda show, the open air Millennium Eve concert at Dockyard, Nova performed without her full band and just percussionist Laurie Jenkins and Will Foster on keyboards but if anything, this stripped-down set was more powerful and energetic than in 1999. The Ruth Seaton James Centre has good acoustics but as a glorified school hall it can be a soulless place but Nova made the audience (disappointingly less than capacity)forget that as her hauntingly distinctive voice cascaded through many of her best-known songs. Opening up with her signature song Walk This World With Me, she reached back as far as My Fidelity from the first Glowstars album, through the likes of Truth and Bone from Oyster, Widescreen, London Rain, and Winter Blue from Siren and a selection from her latest, South, including a scorching version of Virus of the Mind, arguably the best song of the night, and the poignant Grow Young, which she desrcibes as the most Bermudian of her songs (she writes most of her material during sojurns on the Island). Being a Bermudian audience the crowd was typically appreciative but reserved, unlike the raving thousands she plays to in Europe, but then this was the type of show to sit and wrap yourself in Nova's superb melodies and lyrics than dance to them. Even so, she left us hungry for more when she recalled her teenage days of dancing at the Disco 40 with a stunningly sultry version of the Bee Gees' Stain' Alive, no less. Wonderful stuff.
Nova was supported for the first time by her brother Mishka whose gentle Marley-style of conscious folk-reggae was warmly received. This was the first time I'd seen Mishka live and while he's got great songs and a good voice, I found the Marleyisms a touch too much at times. Maybe that's the authentic Mishka but to me it seems a dated cliche that is in danger of obscuring his undoubted talent.

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