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Review: Charlie Cunningham and Eivør at Music Matters

The prolific pair mesmerise the crowd at an intimate gig in Selfridges’ Ultralounge.

Last Thursday night, Charlie Cunningham and Eivør performed in London at a brand new, gloriously high-tech venue in the basement of Selfridges. This unique in-store space called The Ultralounge boasts a 360-degree stage along with stunning digital elements that complemented their distinctive styles.

From start to finish, Cunningham and Eivør enthralled the audience in the small room – each displaying rare depth vocally, lyrically and instrumentally.

As part of the Music Matters series that runs through mid September, they’re among a diverse range of artists being featured in the immersive, up-close-and-personal shows. In addition to creating fresh experiences and fostering connectivity with fans, a portion of ticket sales benefits Music Venue Trust in its work protecting grassroots music venues.

Charlie Cunningham

Based in Oxford, Cunningham has been out on the European festival circuit this summer. Returning to the UK for a short spell, the singer-songwriter sat on a stool, strumming the guitar with his signature percussive technique. Occasionally swigging from a bottle of beer, he gave a relaxed, confident performance. Over the course of the 45-minute-long, 12-song set, Cunningham had fans enraptured with a mix of music from his three early EPs, along with tracks like Minimum and Breather from his recently released debut album Lines. His delivery of the poignant While You Are Young was a highlight, striking an emotional chord with the crowd.

Eivør, the Faroe Islands’ most prominent artist, also delivered a bold, emotionally rich musical performance when she hopped barefoot onto the interactive stage to showcase her unusual brand of electronic folk.

With 10 solo albums to her credit, Eivør had a wealth of material to draw from. She focused on her latest album, Slør, an English version of her Faroese-sung 2015 album by the same name. Eivør’s voice soared in the haunting lead track Surrender, while the song In My Shoes, which she said was “about finding your grove in life”, brought about another hushed, introspective moment.

Incorporating a variety of instruments from guitar to shamanic drum, Eivør also spoke to the rapt audience throughout the evening, thanking them for their support and introducing various songs. Eivør said that the wild, unspoiled nature of her homeland was a constant source of inspiration and joked about how “every person from the Faroe Islands has written a song about rain” – before playing hers, the hypnotic Rain.

The evening peaked with Í Tokuni, a song done in her own language. Meaning “in the fog”, it tells the story about being lost as a child in the misty mountains, and her voice took on a thundering power that pulsed throughout the room.

As the night wound down, Eivør did her favourite song, Famous Blue Raincoat, followed by True Love, before returning for an energising encore.

Eivør’

With an ability to make sounds that rise and fall as well as evoke images from nature like a warbling bird or swirling wind, Eivør’s music is certainly unforgettable – especially when heard in a live setting.

If you missed out on this appearance though, there’s good news: you can still hear both of these talented artists when they return to the UK to perform this winter.

Catch Charlie Cunningham supporting Lucy Rose at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London on 3 November 2017 and Eivør in Bristol, London and Manchester on 27 – 29 November 2017. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster.co.uk.

Find out more about Music Matters at Selfridge’s Ultralounge here.

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