Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Karima Francis Review 03/02/2009

When Karima Francis strutted on stage, shiny leggings, vintage jumper and a big mass of hair, then immediately fiddled with her curls and looked cheekily out to the audience, she visibly became the oxymoron that she is. A mad, powerful and effortless ranging voice, with a confident, startling look and incredible presence when she unleashes her sound, combined with shyness, a youth and distinct northern charm.

As soon as that first note escaped Karima, with its perfect and yet startlingly raw sound, mini goose bumps hurtled through me like antelope running from a lion. Literally the most ridiculous live voice I have heard for a very long time. The Cooler wasn’t packed, but it was a nice crowd, some sitting, some slowly absent mindedly swaying. The atmosphere was friendly as each person escaped to their own melodic cabin. Joined by her guitar with its brash little neon ‘Blackpool’ sticker, and her beautifully calm guitarist, the act was such a simple set up. This unfussiness served to support the naivety of her heart’s lyrics and expose 21 year old Karima’s talent. There are hints of Tracey Chapman in her voice, but it’s hard to say she’s like any particular artist, as she has such an individual sound. Where this range hugging, instrument of a voice originated from she doesn’t know. ‘I just wrote a song and the voice kind of came with the words,’ she says, ‘I’ve always had this range, which still shocks me.’

Growing up in Blackpool and Manchester, her Mother would tape her singing Celine Dion songs, telling her she was going to be a great singer one day, as she possessed, ‘this voice’, as Karima states. However she didn’t appreciate her silencing powers in her younger years. Upon finding said tapes, she snapped them and threw them in a field’, as she was so embarrassed. It was only when she moved to Manchester with her Mother, and fell in love that these heart pulling, feel it in your bones and soul lyrics truly came out, unearthed and exposed. As did ‘the voice’,
As testament to her character; between songs, her posture would become loose, her face would crease into a mischievous smile and the glint in her eye filled the time space. Her little anecdotes, a Rolex she found in a charity shop in Cornwall for £10, ‘Karima got herself a Rolex for ten quid, come and ‘ave a look, it’s dead nice’ brought the audience into her little world and made her seem more vulnerable and charming. She also said ‘thank you’ after every applause she received, commenting that it’s so strange and unbelievable to have your own personal emotions and words clapped to. Something that she mentions in an interview; ‘I still have my insecurities. But I must have some confidence to get up on stage and do what I do. When an audience claps at the end of a song, I can’t understand it. I’m just stood there, and there are hundreds of people listening to my words – it’s kind of hard to take in.’

Karima has a talent that is explosive and makes the world a more vivid and bright, colourful place. She has a personality and paradoxical quality that is endearing, entertaining and heart pulling. Her single Chasing the Morning Light resonated within me as I cleaned my teeth at night and the next morning, and her cover of Need Somebody by Kings of Leon transfixes the heart and mind. Karima on the third of February, was ‘ma fave’. Watch this eh.

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