She knew a fine way to treat a Steinway*. Perched like a pigeon on a leather stool, she fingered the ivories in nonchalant self-accompaniment as she glided like a pro into ‘Heroes’. Few ad hoc live doodles have had more gasp factor. Given where we were. For the maestro himself recorded the original here, at Köthener Strasse 38, Kreuzberg, Berlin, the sacred site of a studio every note as famed as Abbey Road. It was in the Great Hall by the Wall at Hansa Tonstudios, where the Gestapo threw mad parties during World War II, that Bowie legend claims he created the so-called ‘Berlin Trilogy’. In fact, only ‘Heroes’ was fully realised here. But he played this piano.
Nina Clark couldn’t resist. She can’t. She is a paradox. Cocky but coy, in-your-face and a bit restrained, she conjures songs both mellifluous and punchy which she delivers with charm and wit. There’s romance and sex in abundance, swirling lyrics into fables, stirring tunes into delicacies for the ear.
Who’s that girl, lurking behind her vocals? I’m hearing Julie Driscoll and Judie Tzuke. Astrud Gilberto and Carly Simon. Chrissie Hynde and Peggy Lee. Not too loudly. Nina knocks them for six with her soul and folk, jazz and pop takes. She gives the broads a run for their fifty pees.
She’s a musical activist and minstrel as well as a singer-songwriter. Having recorded her first album in Chicago and produced her second by herself, she launches her third, ‘Alpha’, in a fortnight. People get ready. It’s part-financed by the Arts Council’s DYCP (Developing Your Creative Practice) Fund. Money gorgeously spent. Nina’s theme being that music should be available to all, the thrust of www.musicalwalkabout.com – her minstrel project for the socially isolated and those suffering with dementia.
For a taste of honey, go here: www.ninaclarkmusic.com
*I Love a Piano, Irving Berlin