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Giles Terera performs the world premiere of Black Matter

Giles Terera is perhaps best known as the Olivier Award-winning star of Hamilton but he is also a highly talented guitarist, pianist, lyricist and composer as this solo concert proves.

Giles Terera - Black Matter - © Dan Poole.
Giles Terera – Black Matter – © Dan Poole.

It is a sixty-minute song cycle in many different modern popular music styles, such as ballads, jazz, blues, funk and groove, inspired by the Lockdown summer of 2020 in Soho, where Giles lives. Each self-contained song tells the story of an event or someone that he observed. Each is a song of protest, joy, anger and love.

For example, there is the story of Nicky, illustrating how the treatment of women in our society needs to change. Here the composer also plays the piano, as he does in several other songs, and he is a very accomplished pianist. Like many of the other songs, Nicky sticks in the mind, encouraging the listener/viewer to repeat it. In fact the whole concert repays repetition, paying attention to the lyrics, which are crystal clear.

My favourite songs include the first one “That’s The Matter” which quickly draws one into the rest of the programme. “Pasadena” is about a newly out-of-work actor because of the pandemic, who finds a friend in “Pasadena” – we are told the tale of the development of their ‘friendship’.

If You Were Only Here” is enhanced by the singer whistling as well as singing and playing the guitar, but I also hugely enjoyed “Live on My Feet” because, however good Terera’s Guitar playing is, his piano playing is even more inventive.

In short, this concert/song cycle – it doesn’t ‘matter’ what you call it – is a fascinating listen, giving much food for thought. Giles Terera is a superb communicator in music; I have thoroughly enjoyed both listening an watching this.

It was filmed during Lockdown at Soho’s Crazy Cogs using multiple cameras and evocative, though never distracting, lighting. Sound is inclined to distort, but this may be on purpose!

Highly recommended, and not just for those who have seen Hamilton!

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Giles Terera, the Olivier Award-winning West End star of ‘Hamilton’, performs the world premiere of ‘Black Matter’, a new song cycle composed while he observed life on the changing streets of London’s Soho over a tumultuous summer in lockdown.

A solo concert with Giles accompanying himself on guitar and piano, ‘Black Matter’ was recorded with multiple cameras and will be streamed globally on-demand from March 24 – 31

Available globally on demand from 24 – 31 March
Tickets: £12
Show runs 1 hour
To book a stream go to https://www.fane.co.uk/giles-terera


  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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