New York City, the eclectic, bustling city that has always been a hotbed for artistic excellence of all kinds. The city especially has given rise to some of the most amazing, innovative, and successful musicians in the world. The uptown neighborhood of Harlem alone has as rich and storied a musical history, as any city in the United States. Legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Billie Holliday, Lena Horne, and many more have made their name in Harlem, many of them performing in speakeasies where the booze flowed, and the sexy socialites of New York City gathered for nights of music and celebrations of life. Rachel Brown, a singer with Ethiopian, Bermudian and Southern roots, took a filled room of patrons in Ginny’s Supper Club back to those days with two brilliant shows in the speakeasy inspired lounge.
A New York native and Harvard graduate, Rachel Brown and her band of talented African and Caribbean musicians, have created a live show that is not to be missed. Fusing pop, Caribbean, Hawaiian, country and hip-hop, Rachel’s unique style of music has garnered the attention of stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay Z, Martin Scorsese, and Wyclef Jean, just to name a few. At Ginny’s Supper Club Wednesday night, Rachel weaved through a mix of covers and original music flawlessly for a crowd pleasing hour and change.
Standing in front of the packed, dimly lit room, Rachel smiled and gave a warm welcome, setting the stage for what would be an amazing performance. Rachel and her band seamlessly switch from island to hip-hop to rhythm and blues songs, with each member of the band brilliantly segueing into each song with a solo. Rachel’s unique, enchanting voice, combined with the island and African vibes of her band, make covers such as “No Scrubs” by TLC, “No Diggity” by Blackstreet, and “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, all her own, getting great rounds of applause after each and every song. In between covers, Rachel shows that she’s not just a cover artist, and performs a couple of her amazing original scores off her new EP “Building Castles,” which stand on their own. Throughout the performance, Rachel keeps the crowd’s attention and ears with never a dull moment or drop in quality. At the end of the performance Rachel takes a rest and really let’s her band shine as each member goes into an impressive medley of solo’s, with instrumentals such as Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and The Four Seasons “Oh What A Night,” culminating in a battle between the drummer, and conga player that draws perhaps the loudest applause from the crowd of the night. A fitting end to one of the best live performances from a new artist you will experience anytime soon. In fact, the performance was so unbelievable that the crowd had to have Rachel come out for an encore, to which Rachel happily obliged.
If you ever find yourself in New York City, and want to enjoy great music that will take you to another place that may have been forgotten a long time ago, before hip-hop and EDM ruled the clubs of New York, perhaps back to the Harlem Renaissance days when it was just a beautiful voice, an amazing live band, and the classy socialites of the city, then attend a live performance by Rachel Brown and her band. You won’t be disappointed.