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Review of Ursula Rucker Concert

Last weekend, the magnificent Ursula Rucker performed in the Petrol club, in Antwerp, Belgium. This is my review of that night.

I first had a family celebration earlier on, so I was a bit stressed that night. I wanted to go to the family feast, but I didn’t want to miss one minute of Ursula’s concert. I already bought tickets, so there’s another reason to make sure we arrived on time.

I knew Petrol would open their doors at 9pm, and that the concert would officially begin at 10pm. I also read on the site that Rucker was scheduled to play at 22h30. The family gathering started at 7pm, but it was with a complete dinner (apero, main course , dessert, etc..), so I feared to not arrive in Antwerp on time. We left the family thing at a bit past 10 o’clock. Our friends were going to drive to Petrol on their own, and at their own time (so they wouldn’t have to wait for my girlfriend and me).

So we managed to leave in time (it’s a ~30min. drive to Petrol), and I made sure I didn’t relax in my driving 🙂 We arrived at -i think- 22h40 in front of the club’s doors, which wasn’t too bad, so we were content about our timing. We entered Petrol, and the rest of my posse was just paying to get in *rolleyes*. No stress there 😉

Anyway, no band was playing at that time, just the DJ that provided the intro to Ursula (he played blaxploitation and spoken word records). So it’s all good, but in the meantime, the clock’s hand got to about 23h15, and still no Philly chick spotted. Kind of a shame for all my hassle to get to Petrol before eleven 🙂 There wasn’t too many people in the club, which is good, coz I don’t like that when I’m at a concert. The mood was really relaxed, a good audience, you know.

I saw her entering the club through the same door everybody else gets in. I think it must have been around 23h30. I recognized her immediately, because she was wearing white boots (kind of stands out in the dark lighting), and she wore her hair in two big dots behind her ears in her typical style. She walked by us, and I would’ve expected her to be a bit taller. Now, I’m a big guy (1m96, which is ~6’4″ I think), but still… 🙂

The concert: wow, man. Just wow.

I know Ursula Rucker and her music. But seeing her perform in the flesh is something else. There she stood, mother of four, far in her thirties (how old is she exactly? don’t know), fighting against all that is wrong and injust. Awesome.

She really gets into her music/poetry, and gives herself 100%. She sounds as though she means it, and you can really feel what she’s feeling when she speaks her words. She has a very strong, yet very soft voice. That adds to the power of her. Some people said the Spice Girls were girl power…. lol 😀 They should hear this woman go at it.

There was only a drummer and a guitarist behind her. The rest was on tape, unfortunately (you could clearly hear the synths etc…). Another less fortunate thing is that a speaker was totally blown, so each time there was a high VU, you could hear the ripped bass. But it was okay, it didn’t really mess up the sound a lot.

She mainly played the tracks of Ma’at Mama, I guess to test the reactions of the public. They sounded really well, especially with the acoustic guitar. Of course, the recorded sounds helped, but it was mainly just her voice, the drums and the guitar playing. It had nothing to do with playbacking, just enriching the sound of a song.

Aside from the new tracks, she also brought Supa Sista (of course), and Untitled Flow. Maybe just one or two other ‘older’ tracks.

I’m really satisfied, now I saw her perform live. It really helps me to respect her even more, and she definately ‘converted’ a few disbelievers that evening, and gained lots of new fans.

I wish for her to be able to keep making such good music, with such strong, honest lyrics, because I love what she does. Respect to you, Ma’at Mama, and to all other ma’at mamas out there.

Thank you.

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Edit: As Tim explains in the comments, he used a guitar synth to play the additional sounds, not a tape. Don’t I feel silly now 😉



Ursula’s new album

[ taken from !K7 newsletter ]

Ursula Rucker – Ma’at Mama (release date Jan 30th)

Ursula Rucker - Ma'at Mama

Ursula Rucker, Philadelphia´s Queen of Spoken-Word-Poetry, is back with her third album.
With “Ma´at Mama” (named after an ancient Egyptian kemetic principle, the foundation of universal order and balance), Ursula shows a new level of maturity in her writing. “Ma´at Mama” is pure poetry, sensuality and poignant social criticism, uniquely blending Hip Hop and Funk with sparse beats.

Review @ Beyond Jazz