Monday, February 6, 2023
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Review | Nilüfer Yanya sings in a remarkable voice as complex as her heritage

Vocals and electric guitar are at the center of Nilüfer Yanya’s music, and occasionally they’re left entirely unadorned. Yet the London native’s recent album, “Painless,” is intricately layered and sometimes driven by electro beats.

At the performer’s assured show Tuesday night at a two-thirds-full Black Cat, machine-generated rhythms were largely, though not entirely, absent. The bulk of the music was played live by Yanya and her backing trio — a drummer, a bassist and keyboardist-saxophonist Jazzi Bobbi, whose most important role may have been merely to double Yanya’s vocals at crucial moments. The arrangements were simple but canny, and well designed to complement the band leader’s remarkable voice, which is as complex as her Turkish, Irish and Afro-Caribbean heritage.

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