We weren’t at the venue in time for Gil Karpas, but the main act, Ana Silvera, was highly anticipated, after high praise for her from the ‘Late Junction’ on BBC Radio 3. The small and intimate show, at the Cambridge Junction 2, featured Nick Mulvey (ex Portico Quartet) as the co-headliner. 

With a wonderful voice - clear, clean and crisp - perhaps as a result of her teenage years performing with the English National Opera, classical training seemed to be evident in Ana’s performance.


Ana played keyboards and an occasional guitar, and was accompanied by another vocalist and a cello player. She varied throughout her fifty-minute set, starting with nervousness, then at points being rather too ‘high art’, but also bringing really touching moments into some of the songs.


Certainly when harmonising with her compatriot on stage, the vocals had added depth. Imogen Heap and perhaps Rachel Sage (with less flamboyance) would be a loose starting point sound wise. Some songs I thought were perhaps more suited to a stage show rather than a gig, but Ana certainly has musical talent. Upcoming dates with the Estonian Television Girls’ Choir and Imogen Heap should provide a perfect setting.


In February 2011, Ana wrote and performed a seven-part song cycle with the Roundhouse Experimental Choir and we were treated to a song from that, as well as her new record which is on the horizon. The debut album, 'The Aviary' is released on 12th March and it will, on reflection, be interesting to hear the studio versions of these very ‘wordy’ songs.


Nick Mulvey (ex Portico Quartet) was the other co-headliner and I wonder, certainly on the strength of this strong performance, how long he will have to continue carrying the Portico Quartet tag after his name?


Brimming with confidence and on home soil, this accomplished guitarist (multi instrumentalist I believe) hit the ground running with down to earth songs, sung passionately and with humour. He was very much at home with the audience that seemed to include lots of family and friends, and it was the first time I have seen a baby at an indoor show.


The style of songs really had a definite world-music influence, with the hypnotic guitar weaving very well with a fairly unique vocal style. I guess it must have been a wrench to leave the well recognised Portico Quartet outfit, but Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention and got on ok I suppose!


Nick said that he was off to

Iceland to record an ep this weekend. Demos can be found here on Soundcloud  and there is a date (that will hopefully be the ep release show) at The Slaughtered Lamb in London sometime in April.


Ana Silvera tour dates


16th Feb - The Latest Music Bar,


26th Feb - The Roundhouse, London - (main stage with the Estonian Television Girls Choir and Imogen Heap)

27th Feb - Sage, Gateshead - (main stage with the Estonian Television Girls Choir and Imogen Heap)

3rd March - The Cellar, Oxford

8th March - The Firestation, Windsor   


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