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After a great year in 2023, when she launched her new band in Leeds and packed out venues across the city, Portuguese singer Suéli Gil will release her debut UK EP “O Tempo é A Hora” in March 2024. A collection of original music and songs influenced by her upbringing back home and the different cultures that inspired her - Portuguese, Angolan, Brazilian - which she will showcase on Saturday 16th March with a Leeds launch party at Brudenell Social Club. It will be her biggest headline show in the city since she moved to the UK over a decade ago.
The daughter of Angolan parents, Suéli was surrounded by music from an early age. The Angolan folkloric rhythms of semba along with funana from Cape Verde mixed with Brazilian Afro-Bahian sounds and songs from the “Tropicália” movement played in her family's household. Already singing in the school choir, she began taking music seriously when she went to university and her main musical influences were the great singers of Brazilian popular music (MPB) - Djavan, Gilberto Gil, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Paulo Flores. She sang with bands and soon she met her musical mentor - Tuniko Goulart - a Brazilian musician based in the Algarve, described by Portuguese Blitz Magazine as “a genius of the guitar”, who has played with Brazilian music legends such as Gilberto Gil and Airto Moreira. He also participated in “Madam X”, Madonna’s 2019 album recorded in Lisbon and which featured Portuguese, Brazilian and Angolan music styles and rhythms..
When she arrived in the UK and settled in Leeds, she immediately began performing Brazilian music in cafes and restaurants in a duo format featuring herself on vocals and a guitarist. By 2017, she formed her first UK band "Suéli Gil & Friends" featuring TC & The Groove Family drummer Tim Cook. Together they co-wrote and released a samba house track called "Toca Samba" and her band performed across the north at venues and events such as The Hifi Club Leeds, Liverpool's Brazilica Carnival, Manchester Brazilian Food Festival, Vamos Leeds Festival, Chapel Allerton Festival (Leeds), The Wardrobe Leeds and the World On Our Doorstep festival. At the beginning of 2020, things were looking very promising but then the world shut down in March due to the covid pandemic and Suéli had to return to Portugal. It ended up being an 18 month break from the UK though she continued singing and performing back home.
Returning to the UK in early 2022, Suéli Gil was back singing again, firstly as a guest vocalist with Gustavo Andrade & The Brasukas MPB/samba band, performing with them at Brudenell Social Club and Hifi Club in Leeds and a sold out Brazil Carnival at The Blues Kitchen, in Manchester. By summer 2023, Suéli decided she wanted to have her own band again and so she recruited a new young band of top musicians from the Leeds jazz/global beats music scene.
From Plantfood came JJ Petrie on the guitar/vocals and MD duties with fellow Plantfood band member Joe Van der Meulen on saxophones. Joe Redgrave, who plays with Leeds Brazilian fusion band Tempo Feliz, was on percussion with Brazilian rhythm king John Settle from “Os Caras” on drums. Finally, on bass and vocals was William Sampsa. The "Magnificent 7" were ready and made their debut at Leeds Jazz Festival in May 2023, closing the Welcome To Leeds stage on the Saturday to a standing ovation. Other 2023 Leeds shows included support slots to Chilean band Newen Afrobeat and afrojazz group Ubunye, both at Brudenell Social Club. And two sold out shows - one at Hyde Park Book Club supporting The Brasukas, and a headline show at 7 Arts in Chapel Allerton which sold out days before the gig.
Support comes from Afrodesia, the 7 piece afrobeat/afro-jazz ensemble led by alto saxophonist Reece Fogg. They've played some great shows in Leeds over the last 18 months at venues and events like the Hifi Club, Hyde Park Book Club, Brudenell Social Club and Leeds Jazz Festival 2023. They've ventured over the Pennines to rock the legendary Band On The Wall in Manchester and south to Sheffield for the Footprints jazz club. All their gigs have been firing sessions where their Hugh Masekala and Felk Kuti inspired blend of classic afrobeat, highlife, contemporary jazz, afrosoul and Latin rhythms, always guaranteed to pack the dancefloor. If you haven't caught them yet, get down to this show.
Opening up, we have the debut show of a brand new band led by an already familiar musician on the Leeds music scene. FEE is the artist, also known as Fee Buckton, ace trumpeter in some of the top groups coming out of Leeds in the last couple of years - Heritage, Goddess Collective, Ferg's Imaginary Big Band, Gustavo & The Brasukas. Now she's fronting her own band and playing trumpet and singing lead vocals on her original music, which is an intricate blend of jazz, pop, neo-soul, afrobeat and r'n'b - everything and the kitchen sink thrown in! She is inspired not only by her jazz training, but by the incredible musicians and songwriters she’s had the pleasure of working and performing with in Leeds. She is now excited to share her own music with the world with her band : Oliver Wardle - drums, Adam Bone - bass, Nathan Chambers - keys, Sam Hughes - guitar, George Woolley - baritone sax, Katie Alice - flute/BV’s, Mary Jane - BV’s.
Another globetrotting cross-genre music show from DJ Lubi bringing Leeds the best in world beats, dancefloor jazz and global soul.