We hope that our regular series of mini-gigs is spreading a little light in the gloom during these strange days. Some fabulous artists have contributed exclusive performances for AUK readers to enjoy. Today, we are privileged to present Laura Cortese. Here, she’s playing solo though she usually plays as part of Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, a group of singing string players known for a fresh, edgy take on the traditional string quartet.
Although playing alone, Cortese creates a full, gorgeous sound. This, ladies and gentlemen, this is how a violin should be played. Cortese plucks and strums her violin, creating engaging melodies and rhythms and something entirely unexpected. She doesn’t even bother to pick up her bow until the last of four superb songs. This mini-gig is brought to you from the street outside Cortese’s home in Ghent, Belgium, where her neighbours make an appearance to watch the show.
This performance is stunning, not just for the songcraft, the evident musical ability and the beautiful vocals, but because of the joy with which Cortese plays. There are smiles and laughter and, particularly in the current circumstances, this is so welcome – an artist loving her work.
Cortese, who was born and raised in California, begins with ‘California Calling’. This is followed by ‘Corduroy Jacket’, a song about being stuck on your image. Then, we have the most recent single, ‘From the Ashes’, which is from ‘Bitter Better’, the new album which drops on 17th July. This songs is about resilience in the face of losing a way of life. Originally based on the recent California fires, the sentiment of this song is as relevant as now ever. Cortese finishes with a cover of ‘Woke Up New’ by The Mountain Goats. The song is lifted still further the beautiful sound of Bert Ruymbeek pump organ, also known as a field organ or harmonium.
Watch now. There is infectious joy to be found here.