Selected by Dan
After reviewing last
summer' outstanding debut CD by little known British soul singer Leigh Stephen Kenny,
this writer went down to Kenny's J-Wave showcase concert at On Air East in October.
Expecting a small crowd of record company types, the place turned out to be packed. On
January 10 and 11, Kenny returns to give his rapidly growing number of fans in Japan a
closer look in two shows at Shibuya Club Quattro.
To give an indication of Kenny's intimate approach, consider this. One of the songs on LSK,
"Hate Or Love," is a ballad about sibling rivalry and the complexities of
brother-sister relationships that he sings with his own sister, Rhianna. Rhianna, who
tours with her brother and with her own strong presence and crystal clear voice, was
central to the show's success in October, almost upstaging Kenny himself.
Growing up the son of mixed race parents in Kent, Kenny was able to absorb and integrate a
variety of musical styles with an ease that seems unique to British artists. In LSK,
he draws on rock, hip hop and reggae to complement the defining soul-oriented mood of the
album. One song in particular, "Fruit Of Many Roots," speaks of Kenny's
background. On his website, Kenny explains about the song:
"I'm the fruit of many roots. I've got Canadian, French, Irish, Scottish, Jewish and
black roots. I believe my grandfather's Cuban. I'm neither black nor white, and that's
what the music's about. It's saying, wake up, there's a million and one people like me out
With Kenny - whose voice is vaguely reminiscent of that of tragic talent Marvin Gaye -
touching a chord among music fans in Japan who see him as the new face of British soul,
look for his shows to be well attended.
Kenny plays Club Quattro on January 10 and 11. See
listings for details.