Review: Katie Melua and The Gori Women’s Choir, York Barbican, December 12

SINGER-SONGWRITER Katie Melua is out on tour once again, this time accompanied by the Gori Women’s Choir.

Originally born in Georgia, Melua released her debut album in 2003 at the age of 19; by 2006, she had become Britain's best-selling female artist. Her seventh album, 2016's In Winter, was produced in collaboration with the Gori Women's Choir, a native Georgian, all-woman singing troupe.

The opener for Wednesday's show, Keeva, performed songs from her album, appropriately titled Four Sad Songs And A Ballad. While lacking in variety, her stripped-down acoustic guitar and quavering vocals lent a distinctive style to her short set.

York Press:

Solo spotlight: Katie Melua performing at York Barbican on Wednesday. Picture: Simon Bartle

Melua’s own performance was similarly spartan, supported by a small band, placing the focus firmly on the singer’s vocals above everything else. This choice accentuates Melua’s vocal talents, allowing her to sing both clearly and confidently without fear of being overtaken by the backing music, but it also creates some uncomfortably long moments of silence between songs, especially during instrument changes. There’s very little connective tissue, and the bare-bones style does nothing to soften this.

However, the actual performances, when not awkwardly halted, are excellent. The Gori Women’s Choir more than earn their shared title spot, and Melua’s talents combine well with theirs in easily the most memorable parts of the show.

While hardly flawless, Katie Melua and the Gori Women’s Choir deliver where it counts, with strong vocals throughout.