An Evening at The Central

Last night, I was at one of the greatest local music concerts I’ve ever been to at The Central. Maneli Jamal, Sean Pinchin and Robyn Dell’Unto each blew my mind in turn, in their own unique ways.

I’ve actually had the privilege of sharing the stage with both Maneli and Sean in the past on several occasions. When I heard they were playing a show together, I knew it would be good. I’d never heard of Robyn before, but I figured that if Maneli and Sean had decided to play a show with her, she must be good. What an understatement.

Maneli and Sean will change the way you think of the acoustic guitar. Maneli is a virtuoso and with his rare two-hand tapping technique he can make music on his own that four other competent guitarists couldn’t produce in a collaborative effort. When you first witness a live performance, you’ll find yourself staring at him trying to figure out if all that sound is really being produced by two hands. Sean plays lap-style guitar with a slide for most of his tunes. The combination of his guitar playing and his voice is absolutely hypnotic; the two instruments are made for each other. When he plays alone, the sound is so full that you constantly get flashes of a full band playing behind him, yet it’s pure and personal in the way that only a man and his guitar can be.

Or a woman and her guitar. From the moment Robyn started singing, she had my full attention. Her playful stage banter quickly gave way to heartfelt and passionate expression. Simple and beautiful acoustic guitar provides the backbone for her powerful vocals and lyrics. It’s hard for me to describe the emotion she conveys and I don’t think her recordings alone can give you a true sense of what I experienced at the concert (though they’re good – buy them!). You have to witness it live to really understand what I’m trying to say.

Same with Sean and Maneli. No matter how good their recordings are, witnessing it in person is another experience altogether. (Check out their websites for upcoming shows!)

That said, I’ll leave you with some lyrics from one particular recording of Robyn’s that I can’t stop listening to.

This is not a love song
You know I’m sorry
You know it’s hard for me to do that
With no symphony or proverbs
Just a melody to move you into sleep
And dreams of me…

– from “Dreams of Me” by Robyn Dell’Unto (listen to it here)