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44-47 Gardner Street, Brighton. BN1 1UN

Tue 29 Oct 2024

(Doors: 7:00 pm)

Book Tickets

Liana Flores + Support

JOY. Concerts Present: Liana Flores + Support

Liana Flores

Flower of the soul

Transformation became the watchword for Liana Flores’ debut album, Flower of the soul, whether it be the changing of the seasons or the evolving nature of love. It’s a theme that can be heard throughout much of the London-based British-Brazilian songwriter’s music, which pairs dream-like vignettes of her intimate world with wistful, drifting guitar melodies to get lost in. Written over the course of the past three years, Flower of the soul is a meditation on impermanence, told through an intoxicating blend of stylistic influences, from British folk (‘Crystalline’), classic jazz (‘I wish for the rain’), and ‘60s Brazilian pop (‘Butterflies’)

Liana has always had an ear for the special moments in music. Growing up in a small town in South Norfolk, she would pick out melodies from songs and play them on her keyboard by ear, before starting piano lessons in primary school and eventually trying her hand at guitar from around age 18. She was adventurous from the beginning, learning the bossa nova songs she loved from her mother’s native
Brazil in her later teens out of love for the “harmonic language” of the genre.

When it came to penning her own songs, the process began as something of a creative outlet for teenage turmoil. But before long inspiration began to reveal itself to Liana like a stroke of fate and she developed a knack of interpreting mundane everyday experiences into spellbinding songs.

Other times, it’s waiting to be discovered in the most unexpected of places – like the fortune cookie that told her “imagination is the eye of the soul”, a phrase that reminded her of a line in one of her favourite Kate Bush songs, ‘Moving’: “You crush the lily in my soul.” It was this unlikely pairing of source material that helped Liana find her way to the name of her debut album, Flower of the soul.

Not too long ago, Liana was entering her final year at St Andrews University in Scotland studying zoology and preparing for a career in the lab, humbly honing her musical talents behind closed doors. But when her beautifully melancholy song ‘rises the moon’ went viral, a huge global audience fell head over heels for Liana’s strikingly original sound, many converting into loyal fans. Before she knew it, industry interest ensued and Liana signed to Verve Records (The Velvet Underground, Kurt Vile, Arooj Aftab) with Fiction Records (The Cure, Tame Impala, Billie Marten) as her UK partner.

The song served as a fitting showcase for Liana’s singular talent for songwriting, where each line will reveal itself to you like a verse of poetry or a brush of paint on a canvas. Her style finds a musical kinship
with the jazz-pop revivalism of artists like Laufey – who she supported on her European tour in 2022 – while sharing the depth and craftsmanship of renowned songwriters like Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake and João Gilberto.

After releasing two EPs – 2018’s The Water’s Fine! and 2019’s recently – and wrapping up her degree, Liana felt ready to turn her focus to a debut album, an ambitious sonic leap forward which finds her truly at home with her sound. When each song was polished, she recorded the album working closely with producer/mixer Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Natalia Lafourcade) alongside instrumental collaborators including Chris Bear (Grizzly Bear) on percussion and Brazilian music virtuoso Jaques Morelenbaum (Caetano Veloso, Ryuichi Sakamato), whose “elegant” strings gave ‘Now and then’ its heart.

The finished product is the enchanting Flower of the soul, 11 tracks of escapist bliss which bask in the multifaceted beauty of the world. Listeners are gestured straight into the sunshine on ‘Orange-coloured day’, an ode to the impermanence of nature’s beauty, uplifted by a springy piano melody and playful guitar licks. Then there’s the twinkling, meditative ‘Crystalline’ which evokes Liana’s solitude beach walks while at university in Scotland (“Whisper to me ocean blue / smiling waves I will speak to you”). The classic jazz standard-inspired ‘I wish for the rain’, meanwhile, simply insists on a romanticised saunter around a drizzly Sunday market.

Liana reveals a more vulnerable streak in her songwriting on ‘Now and then’, a reflection on how “loneliness can be a loyal companion”, which she describes as a “well-trodden theme” in the bossa nova cannon. But that’s met with sprinklings of romance on the gentle ‘Slowly’, which embraces the beauty of transience, and ‘Halfway heart’, an effervescent samba number about uncertainty in the early stages of a relationship. “My heart’s halfway, just remember that I’m only passing by,” she sings in her effortlessly lilting voice. Liana’s favourite song on the record, though, is the swaying ‘Nightvisions’, “the first proper love song” that she wrote which is loosely inspired by the Twilight saga as an expression of “how love can transform”.

For an artist who admits that she can struggle to start things, Flower of the soul is all the richer for capturing a life in motion. Now, after a promising year that’s also seen Liana open for Matt Maltese, she’s looking ahead to her own shows and exploring new horizons with a live band. Embracing the creative momentum that this time has brought has meant that she’s even eagerly started work on the next record. “I’m very grateful to be able to make an album,” she says. “I’m not taking for granted how improbable all this is and how lucky I am to be in this position.”

Liana’s intention for the year ahead can be best articulated through her song ‘Butterflies’, a harmonious duet featuring São Paulo-based musician Tim Bernardes, a Latin Grammy nominee, and a founding member of acclaimed tropicalia-indie group O Terno. The song sees the singer find clarity after a lot of “searching and uncertainty” in the album. “I found myself one night having just moved to London to live in a city for the first time in my life,” she recalls, “seeing one phase of life abruptly end and feeling grateful for the time behind and the time ahead.”





What people are saying...

Cracking little venue, intimate, great acoustics, friendly staff, middle of town, nice beer selection, fair prices.What more could you want?

Great place to see bands. Not too big . Not too small. Excellent views plus TV screens in all areas. Disabled parking in the street behind. Good eateries locally after gig.

Komedia continues to have club nights that suit all ages. It is a brighton institution that should be revered.

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