Hans Nayna is a talented local musician from Mahebourg, 27 years old, who is on tour promoting his first album, a crowd funded CD recorded in Mauritius. Last night, he and his excellent eight-piece band, thoroughly entertained an exhuberant crowd of around 300 at the Institute Francais in Rose Hill.
The local press is a good source of what is happening and I jumped at the chance to go. This was my first visit to this venue, I was there on time, surprised to find yet another free car park in Mauritius! I paid 300 rupees (£6) for a ticket and joined a very relaxed crowd at the bar; speedy service with a smile too! Excellent. I was asked if I had practised my “La … la-la laa’s”. What?
With the minimum of fuss, Hans and his band almost apologetically crept around the black curtain to great applause and started their show.
Hans has a strong singing voice with soul, blues and bags of emotion. He has been compared with Paulo Nutini, a bit of jazz, soul and blues. Let’s see, or rather, hear.
He had been a finalist on RunStar, a version of The Voice, on nearby French island, La Reunion. It must be nerve wracking to perform your own words and music, have your first CD on sale, be up there on stage in front of your family, friends, loyal supporters and others who had heard about you. He went through all the tracks and a few others, the performance growing in confidence as he and the band felt the audience participation, appreciation and pleasure.
There was a lovely rich sound from the brass section especially on “Le King” and “Welcome to Paradise”; Fabien Thomas on trumpet and Bryan Armoogam on trombone. Emmanuelle Ghem was elegance personified with her violin, delicate left hand fingers getting just the right vibrato; Josian Long was, of course, as cool as a Mauritian cucumber on the bass as tradition dictates.
Jann Payet played electric piano and keyboards with sensitivity and distinction especially at the start of “Music for the Soul”, a song which builds slowly The backing vocals supplied with gusto, especially on “Liv” by Christabelle André and Anne-Sophie Paul (her name would be so confusing if it was Sophie-Anne Paul).
I thought Hans was similar to George Ezra just with a voice not so low, especially on “Liv” and “Music for the Soul”. “Pieces of the World” reminded me a bit of George Benson in the early days. “Welcome to Paradise” had lots of audience participation with more La La’s than in the Teletubbies! (I am la la-la la-ing now as I am writing this). “With You”; impossible to not tap your feet and dance to that one.
Christophe Bertin showed a great range on the drums through the concert especially in “Feelings”, (no, not that one!) and “Music for the Soul” .
At the end, a spontaneous standing ovation was humbly taken and “Mo lam”, a haunting violin rising above the chorus, was the standout choice for the popular encore.
Thank you to Lauryn who told me he was a pretty cool guy and introduced me to his music. She was right; Hans and his band were terrific. The lyrics were sensitive, soulful and uplifting. The music sort of blues, jazz and a bit of rock, it was just great!
I left the concert with a big smile on my face, my soul warmed by the music and looking forward to playing the CD in the car on the way home.
“La la-la la, La la-la la”.
Now, here is a real treat for you….
The whole concert is on:
“Music for the soul”