Material: The timeline that connects Charity Ekeke’s musical journey, from a childhood in the church choir to the release of her first studio album, was discontinued for nearly 30 years. That is because the Nigerian born singer-songwriter made the selfless decision to put her Hollywood aspirations on hold in order to raise her four children. Ekeke, however, has not allowed the duties of motherhood, the hurtful scars of hindsight nor the stigmatism of age (in the entertainment industry) to scribble over her story. Rather, she has savored every minute of her history and translated her life’s obstacles into an inspirational album that can help others overcome theirs. An album suitably titled She.
Musicianship: Ekeke accumulated the deeply purposeful subject manner for her album during a 20-year hiatus from her music career—all while never knowing if the songs would ever see the light of day. Hence, when the songstress took the stage at the Whisky A Go Go to sing “You Belong,” it was as if she were singing an autobiographical sonnet of motivation to her audience and to herself. The interplay of her expressive tonality, British accent and deep vocalization highlighted an artistic similarity to the most successful and perhaps most famous Nigerian born singer of all time, Sade.
Performance: The highly spirited essence of Charity Ekeke glistened off of the musicianship of her band, and showcased a collective stage presence reminiscent of Celia Cruz and the members of Sonora Matancera during the 1950's. Meanwhile, the rhythm section of Ekeke’s band provided a live soundtrack that seemingly shape-shifted her six-song set list, back and forth, from tropical jazz and West African fusion to the pop-rock sound of Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair album (from 1989).
Summary: Charity Ekeke wrote her entire (recently released) debut album by herself, while making over 20 years worth of career sacrifices so that the people in her personal life could have the chance to become successful. Needless to say, she earned the right to have a selfish moment on the legendary Whisky A Go Go stage. But in her typical kindhearted fashion—she didn’t want it. Instead, she insisted on sharing the accolades from her performance, equally, with a lone associate (keyboardist Randy McClure) and a band of hired musicians whom she had never met until three days prior to their performance (during their one and only rehearsal). That noble impression serves as the perfect description for her personal values and her personable music.
The Players: Charity Ekeke, vocals; Randy McClure, keyboard; Zach Andrews, bass guitar; Jarvis Barnes, drums; Garrett Becker, saxophone; Sergio Ramos, guitar.