Benjamin Clementine – Koko – Review1552
Benjamin Clementine is an English-born singer-songwriter of Ghanaian parentage, the cocoa-growing country in which Prestat conducts its trading fairly projects. Clementine is a classically trained pianist who, as Nina Simone did before him, specialises in songs of melancholia and seems desperately in need of a cup of hot chocolate to cheer him up.
At Koko in Camden, he entered a stage lit by a single spot wrapped in a heavy coat like George Orwell in Down & Out in Paris & London, a reminder that Clementine was ‘discovered’ whilst homeless and busking in a Paris metro. His influences include Erik Satie, the early 20th Century French composer famous for writing two minute ironic compositions. Clementine’s excerpt of Satie lasted 15 seconds, a joke within an irony and a teasing insight into his own performance.
Clementine’s complex songs, intricate lyrics and soaring vocals would make you in urgent need of a therapist’s couch were his fans not taking such pleasure from listening to such beautiful misery. There’s more than a touch of Leonard Cohen to Clementine and it will be interesting to see how his ‘act’ progresses over the years.
As an antidote to melancholia and in recognition of his Orwellian persona, Prestat awards Benjamin Clementine 555 London Gin Truffles for an excellent evening and wishes him the very best of careers.