Painting the town red

Russian Red plays intimate gig at the Mosaic Music Festival

By Clara Lock, photos courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Russian Red may be the stage name of Spanish indie folk singer Lourdes Hernandez, but it is just as much the collaborative effort of her three-piece band.

Performing in her second set of the night as part of Esplanade’s Mosaic Music Festival, Hernandez delivered a lineup mostly from 2011 release, Fuerteventura, together with drummer Pablo Serrano and guitarist Brian Hunt.

But don’t write them off as backup musicians – they are co-conspirators in her music, employing an impressive array of percussion instruments to lend a jaunty, peppy air to upbeat numbers like Everyday Everynight and They Don’t Believe.

Serrano was particularly inventive, drumming away on household items like a wok, and a contraption hanging from his neck, which comprised a washing board, a glass bottle and several empty tins of canned food. “Olives,” he quipped, pointing to one of them.

He also chimed in with finger cymbals on Cigarettes, one of the songs from the band’s first release I Love Your Glasses. Clapping them with a flourish to conclude the song, Serrano’s delight was evident as the audience’s.

Hunt was no slouch either, contributing vocals on same track. Hernandez revealed that Hunt had only started singing Cigarettes recently, but that he could ‘sing really high’, jesting that in Spain, people would say his falsetto detracted from his masculinity.

The easy banter among the trio lent some insight into the world of Russian Red, and during the hour-long gig, invited the audience to peer inside.

In the lull between tracks, while Hunt and Serrano tinkered with guitar pedals and electronic beats, Hernandez was alternately lively and contemplative as she shared the stories and inspiration behind her songs.

Braver Soldier”, she said, “Is about how a woman loves a man, and how you really need to be a brave soldier for that.”

And as she swayed her hips and pounded out a symphony of drum beats in tandem with Hunt and Serrano in the rousing encore, Mi Cancion 7, this charming lass and her eclectic musical allies showed that musically, too, they are all brave soldiers in their own right.

Can’t get enough of Russian Red? Read our interview with lead singer Hernandez! Or catch more acts from the Mosaic Music Festival, which runs till 18th March 2012. For more information, visit www.mosaicmusicfestival.com.

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