Arriving at the ICA, you can already sense the love that Lucinda Chua puts into her craft. The merch stall, rather than just having the usual records and tee’s has beautiful black and red hair ribbons alternated on red and black card. There is a vase of 50 plus long-stemmed roses, each with a little envelope containing a handwritten affirmation. Written by Lucinda herself. Mine reads as per the above. Pre-show, there is a palpable serenity. All the people in the hall sat cross legged on the floor. Instead of having a support act there is guided Yoga. Part of me hopes that all will remain sat on the floor for the show. The feeling of peace is rare.
As we countdown to 9pm though, amidst a set of two keyboards, a cello and a harp bathed in soft light: Lucinda enters. Her presence fills the stage, augmented by a magnificent eastern influenced red dress. It gives the kind of powerful silhouette that someone like Yohji conjures. It doesn’t feel like a modern day, Western concert hall, it feels like something more ancient from the East. Her Cello is the first element that is introduced: “Cello in C”. Then comes new album opener “Golden”. Her gaze is initially on her instrument and then heavenward. When she comes to greet the audience, it is with the warmest of welcomes. There is joy and gratitude to be here in London performing a “home gig”. She moves in the order of her new album “Yian” into “Meditations on a place” and “I Promise”. This then fits seamlessly with “Until I fall” from her “Antidotes II” EP and the gentle piano of “An Avalanche” and then “Torch Song” from the same release. She moves to her keyboard later for “Ocean”, arguably the centrepiece of the album. It already feels like a classic. A world within itself. Its rhythm carries the feeling of being pulled by the water. This is complimented by the arrival of her harpist.
New pieces from Yian: “Echo”and “Autumn leaves don’t come” reverberate and establish peace. Then followed by “Somebody Who” from “Antidotes I”: for this one Lucinda gently encourages the audience to join in on its repeated refrain: “I’m just a body, you’re just a body”. It feels like a powerful lullaby. With all entranced. Her gratitude does not end with her thanks, she personally hands more of her affirmation roses out to audience members. Just as the cello opened, it closes with “Gentler”. We all leave in a better place than in which we started. Reflecting the love that was put into this concert.