The legendary local dive-bar style venue that is Slim Jim’s in Islington is fast making a name for itself as the proving ground for a new generation of singer-songwriters who are brave enough to face the crowd with only their acoustic guitar and a microphone. DTF favourite Peter Von Toy is a regular performer as is Killit’s very own Niro Knox. Now a young lady named Inbar Koprak is proving her talent and, my word, what a talent she is.
A young blues and soul singer from Israel, Inbar has been playing gigs across the UK for a few months now. From playing a full on electric show with members of Killit and Voodoo 6 to her unplugged residency at Slim Jim’s, hers is a voice that seems to keep growing in strength and depth with every performance. Think a blend of Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse’s ragged blues voices combined with the cut-you-to-the-bone introspective songwriting of Tim Buckley or Damien Rice and you’re about there. Tonight her set blends a healthy mix of originals and covers.
She kicks off tonight with ‘Free Woman Blues’, a simple song built around a seductive melody. She dedicates a gorgeous cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ to “My favourite singer - but I have a lot of favourite singers”. The jazzy beauty of ‘Fallin’ In Love With You’ transitions seamlessly into ‘Free Fallin’ by the late great Tom Petty. Inbar’s voice seems to glide between the smooth and the powerful highs with almost no effort.
“I really feel alive on stage,” she declares and it’s easy to see why - she clearly loves singing and it reaches the crowd. The melody of original number ‘Sad Clown’ soars into the chorus, it’s simply stunning. It’s refreshing beyond description to hear such a pure strong voice with no filters and no trickery, and the crowd tightly packed in tonight seem to love it too.
Dedicating the next song to “A young rock singer who left us too soon”, ‘Linger’ is played in honour of the late Dolores O`Riordan of The Cranberries. “I'm gonna teach you a new word now - it’s the most romantic word in Hebrew and I hope you'll love it - it's called ‘Ahuvati’”. A unique blend of folk rock sing-along and jazzy arrangement, it really works.
Self-confessional songs about failed relationships, and the lessons learned from them, seem to be a strong theme throughout Inbar’s own songs and ‘You’re Not The One’ fits in perfectly with that - it also packs a mean little acoustic riff which doesn’t hurt!
Followed by a crowd-pleaser ‘Hit the Road Jack’, “A Song I wish I'd written,” says Inbar.
Next up is my personal favourite, the upbeat dance of ‘Little Girl’ - a bright chorus and hook concealing subtly dark lyrics. It’s a clever and catchy song that reminds me of a young Leonard Cohen. Inbar introduces the very Jazzy ‘Summer Nights Of June’ as “This is a song about a fling,” and breezes through a moody song that moves back into dance territory when we reach the boot pounding and hand clapping of ‘Proud Mary’ - “This singer is still alive,” she jokes, “I just love the song!”. Finishing off her all too brief set with upcoming single ‘Pray’ which medleys with ‘Mercy’ by Duffy, Inbar takes a bow to big applause.
She returns for a single original encore. “This is what happens when you mix men pissing me off with funk, it’s called ‘Talk About Love’”. If the old showbiz adage of “Leave them wanting more” still applies then tonight Inbar Koprak has done just that. With a new album to be released in Spring/Summer and hopefully more live dates to follow, I for one cannot wait to see what this young lady has in store for us next.
Follow Inbar Koprak here: