Drea d’Nur, the multi-talented soulstress from Buffalo, sees herself as more than just a concert performer. Often exclaiming “I am not an entertainer; I am a master healer through music and sound.” At the 710 Shea’s Theatre last night, d’Nur lived up to her proclamation as she unveiled new music and sound in her most vulnerable personal way yet in a show entitled “Beyond The Song.”
Speaking with transparent openness, Drea opened up how she was led to make the event a story about saying goodbye to toxicities in life and opening up to the love of God. Striking the keys with forbearance, d’Nur launched into her original, “I’m Sorry.” A song about the difficulties at the end of a relationship and the realization that one must walk away. The emotions of the song set the tone for the rest of the evening. An evening that became a musical journey of saying goodbye to hurt and into the embrace of God’s love.
What followed was a mosaic of musical experiences featuring song, dance, jazz, tribalism, spiritualism, ancestral honoring, wordism, and the moon. The red-tinted moon, serving as a background visual, gave the theater an ethereal presence. Love echoed through most of the evening. Songs such as “Darling I Love You” and “Your Love Makes It Better” sending out messages of embracing moments of love.
In one of the most touching experiences, d’Nur used the visuals of her children as she sang “Your Love Makes It Better.” Profoundly centered on the meaning of expressing her love through music and song.
Interwoven into the mosaic of experiences were guest appearances by the international jazz artists Curtis Lundy on bass and Giveton Gelin on trumpet. They were joined by Sara Rodriguez on flute and Avys Burroughs on tenor sax. Best called the “jazz” portion of the mosaic, the music ventured into the arena of Coltrane-like sounds. Including a moving melodic performance by the Haitian born pianist Marcus Lolo that featured Curtis Lundy on bass.
The evening also included Toney Rhodes on keyboards and Carl “Flute” Johnson on drums. The trio of back-up vocalists featured Sehrea N’dayu, Amina the Express, and Zhanna Reed.
Gelin, in particular, was a treat to have in town. The 21-year-old Bahamian trumpeter currently attending the Juilliard School in New York recently was awarded the 2020 LetterOne “Rising Stars” Jazz Award. An award based out of London and provides Gelin a 10-city tour, performing in prestigious festivals across the United States and Canada—including slots at the Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York City, the D.C. Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.
The next mosaic of musical experiences gave us entrance to the world of African ancestral music and dance. Featuring music from Senegal by a music chanter and percussionist from the West African country, Alassane Sarr, now living in Buffalo. The music and dancing presenting a spectacular visual that certainly made this more than a concert for the audience in attendance.
The ending mosaic led the audience to a spiritual revivalist experience. The song “Thank You” was a chance for both Drea and the audience to give thanks for the evening and for love. And, in the end, Drea proclaimed for all to see that God Is My Goal in a visual at the end.
While the Greater Buffalo area and beyond may have come to know Drea d’Nur through her Nina Simone honorific performances, this praiseworthy endeavor allowed for Drea to peel back the Nina layers and reveal the core of who she is.
Who she is a marvel of beauty and love for all to see.