What Went Down: 10 Ways KELELA [@kelelam] Took Our Breathe Away

What Went Down: 10 Ways KELELA [@kelelam] Took Our Breathe Away

After a six-year hiatus, Kelela blessed our ears with long-awaited album Raven. Following the album release, she embarked on a nine-date tour across the US, Canada and Europe.

While such a short tour may disappoint some fans, for those that were lucky enough to experience the sold-out shows, the experience is all the more precious. Her music and stage presence definitely require some form of intimacy for her performance to truly be felt.

Photography by Kat Friar

Here is 10 Ways Kelela Took Our Breath Away:

Her ethereal entrance to ‘Washed Away

Underneath intense blue lighting and engulfed in clouds of smoke, Kelela emerged as the production on ‘Washed Away’ ripples through the sound system. Her elegant vocals drift through the venue before a brief pause where she lifts up her arms, opening them up above her and allowing them to fall naturally. It feels spiritual, like she’s opening up her body to taking everything in.

Her trance-like movements in ‘Far Away

Amid lights that flash repeatedly, reflecting off of Kelela’s face which gives a gorgeous colour-changing effect, Kelela moves to the club-like sound that ‘Far Away’ provides. She caresses her neck, then bops her head from side to side before poignantly raising her arms again. She moves fluidly to the music as if she’s stuck in a trance.

Her ability to make time stand still during ‘On The Run’

While the majority of ‘On The Run’ is upbeat and somewhat dancehall-inspired, Kelela’s ability to slow it down draws you in, forcing you to really listen to her vocal range which oscillates between octaves. Combined with the way she moves her body alluringly, she supplies us with a hypnotising experience.

Photography by Kat Friar

The riffs and runs on ‘Missed Call’

Kelela’s vocalisations cascade over the ambient rave music, evoking a sense of euphoria. The riffs and runs glide over the beat with ease. Once she’s done, she shows off her moves as the crowd cheers her on, before seamlessly transitioning into ‘Go All Night – Let It Roll’

Revisiting ‘Cut 4 Me’

She approaches ‘Go All Night – Let It Roll’ with pure passion, moving her body fluidly as the synth-y soundscape bellows throughout the venue. Then for ‘Bank Head’, the crowd claps to the beat as the lights dance in shades of black and blue. She gorgeously projects her voice as she shakes her head from side to side – if you’re a longtime Kelela fan you’ll know how iconic her head shake is.

Her slowed-down introduction for ‘Waitin’

The notes she hits during the introduction are transcendent, emphasised by the white light and ambient music. She hits these soaring notes that leave the audience speechless and in awe. The lights turn orange in reference to her 2017 album Take Me Apart as the fun tempo of ‘Waitin’ creeps through HERE @ Outernet.

Photography by Kat Friar

Stepping into the spotlight for ‘Raven’

Her vocals fly over the minimal production as she stands in a white spotlight. The experience is so invigorating, even before the beat drops and the light begins to flash and it feels like a techno club in Berlin.

‘Sorbet’ and sensual seduction

Kelela’s perfectly captured the collision of two people between the sheets in this song and the live version doesn’t disappoint. Her vocals are breathy and seductive, yet soft and sensual. She’s simply breathtaking.

Kelela proves she’s ‘Enough For Love’

Her “last” song sees flashes of purple reflecting off of her body as her voice rides over the enchanting instrumental like a tidal wave. She hits some impressive high notes here too.

Closing the show with ‘All The Way Down’

Piano keys welcome her onto the stage for her encore, ‘All The Way Down’ a hit from Hallucinogen. Personally, I wasn’t expecting to hear this song but when I did the smile on my face was massive – I was elated and full of serotonin. She spiced things up by playing a baile funk version of the track for a wonderful finale.

Photography by Kat Friar

In the words of my good friend Kemi who I bumped into after the show, “Kelela is a spiritual experience”. She’s purely divine and once-in-a-life time special. A must see if you get the chance.