October 20th, 2013
300 W 116th Street, NYC
It’s a Sunday in New York City and my first night in between living here and Des Moines, Iowa. It’s also a cool fall evening, perfect jacket weather so I decide to make an hour and a half trek (10 miles) from Queens to a neighborhood called Harlem, nestled in the upper west side of NYC. I think they call them boroughs here. I arrive at a venue called Silvana for a free show. Silvana is one part cafe and one part bar. The bar is conveniently located next door through a separate entrance in the basement with a full, mostly vegetarian menu. Modest plates ranging between $5-12.
Lea Anderson and Guitaro 5000 take the stage. I know Guitaro 5000 as Reggie Guillaume. I’ve seen many live and candid videos of Reggie, but I’ve never actually seen him play in person. It’s his first show with Lea. The less people you have in a band, the more you will have to carry your weight through talent. Reggie is a one man band who can play an acoustic guitar and also provide percussion. It’s hard to believe it’s just one guy making all those rhythms. Paired with Lea’s voice, they entertain a full room.
Lea opens up their set with a couple of upbeat happy songs and then changes the mood by telling a personal story. She tells the story of spending an entire weekend with a man only to find out that he has a girlfriend. She wrote the song in fifteen minutes and laid down the track with her sister in a half hour. I can feel the passion and heart break in her as she sings the words “She loves you more than I could. I wish I was that girl”. She follows up with another slow song, a couple of covers, and closes the night on a happy note. Her set was well-thought out and did not bore. Lea is expressive, cheerful and likable. Her voice is sultry with infliction, but she is also able to hold a note. Vocal range? Play the flute? She can do it all.
Watch her music video for her new single “Not That Type of Guy” here: