The last show I saw at World Cafe Live was to see singer Raveena in 2019, right before Covid-19 hit and changed what we once knew as normal. Thankfully after 2 years of not seeing any live performances, 2021 was a reminder of much we all missed that experience. From festivals like XPN Fest and S’morefest to venues like the TLA and City Winery, this year has been a reminder why a majority of us enjoy being entertained by music artists. Last night at World Cafe Live was another great reminder of that feeling when singer Saleka took the stage alongside Philly’s own Jacqueline Constance.

The city of Brotherly Love is well aware of how dope the Mt. Airy songbird is with the help of her loop pedal, so Jacqueline Constance was an excellent choice as the complimentary appetizer before the main course Wednesday night. She started her set by performing her timeless cover of The Roots “You Got Me” and Sade’s “Cherish The Day,” and then gracefully sang Zhane “Sending My Love.”  Jacqueline then decided to take the crowd back to the project that started it all, her debut album The Jacqueline Constance Show, a project that I love to this day, and performed “Sway On” and “Good Life.” She went on to talk about how she loves open mic events and did one of favorite songs to perform at open mics “Prototype,” by Outkast. One thing about the Philly native is that her voice is so amazing that even through technical issues she’s still able to wow the crowd. Jacqueline Constance ended her set with another original song of hers “Carl Thomas,” and also let the crowd know that she’s releasing a new album the top of 2022! Great news to hear as the audience waited to hear from the melodies from the main dish of the night, Saleka.

While playing the keyboard and having her amazing band with her, Saleka started the show with “Disillusion.” She then went into play “Mr. Incredible,” and afterwards performed her song “Take It or Leave It” for the first time. She got in a soulful moody mood when she went into “The Skies Cries,” a track off her father’s, director M. Night Shyamalan who was also in attendance, Apple Original’s series Servant. Her weary falsettos made her sound like she’s the king of sorrow. After that the young singer decided to cover the late Amy Winehouse’s “I heard Love Is Blind.” Makes sense because she reminds me of a mixture of her and Sade. She has a jazzy soulful voice with a similar tone and range as Amy but with less grit and a melancholy feel to it that’s as delicate as Sade. The intimate setting provided by World Cafe Live made a good place for Saleka to perform her personal songs. 

The crowd became connected with the r&b singer with songs such as “How Many,” as she expressed her feelings about the current racial issues the country has dealt with over the past year. The audience was in tuned with the tune “Sands” as they learned how Saleka yearns to get close to her Indian culture that she distanced herself from when she was younger. She shared that she comes from a place where women weren’t allowed to be on stage and how it was viewed as dishonorable to perform so she felt grateful to be able to do so, then went on to cover Etta James’ “Sunday Kind of Love.” She took us back to her catalog with the first song she released “Clarity,” a track about leaving toxic relationship, which all of us in the crowd could relate to. Saleka finished the night with “Remain” a song off the soundtrack from M. Night Shyamalan’s recent film Old, ending a great night of live music.