If you have not already heard of Davina and The Vagabonds then your first question will be - who are they?
Well, the answer to that question is in part easy to answer as they are a band consisting of
Davina Sowers -Vocals/Piano/Ukulele
Zack Lozier - Trumpet/Vocals
Ben Link - Trombone/Vocals
Connor McRae Hammergen – Drums/Vocals
Matt Blake - Upright Bass
What are they? Well that is a bit more difficult to explain. Davina and her Vagabonds are a band steeped in their love of Jazz Blues, a little Gospel and other influences, but they are definitely not just a musical revival band. They also write their own material and have that originality to them that makes them a 21st century band that draws on a rich musical history for inspiration.
The first thing I noticed about today’s show was actually before I was even in the venue. The event was sold out, and the queue was pretty long round the building of The Tron Kirk.
From the start of the band arriving on-stage it was obvious that Davina has a warmth and connection with her audience that you either have or do not have, and that can not be faked. Davina was suitably styled from head to toe in period vintage which just set the scene well for today’s performance. That is not meant as a sexist comment by the way folks, the guys looked suitably period too, it is just that men’s fashions change so little over the years and the ladies have to work so much harder at getting that look just right.
Anyhow, down to the music. This was a mixture of many influences and some new original material. The set opened with "Knock Me A Kiss" and then onto two early original songs which were the back to back and greatly contrasting "Black Cloud" and "Sunshine". Both are from Davina’s new CD "Sunshine". Another original song "Pocket" followed later in the set.
We were also given some great versions of a few standards that included "Ain't That A Shame" and "I'd Rather Go Blind". Also a version of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s "What A Day for A Daydream".
Davina has a great band behind her in The Vagabonds, but more than that, they just love what they are doing and that pleasure in their music and wanting to share it with an audience really comes across.
The Tron Kirk is what the name says it is - an old kirk and Davina and her band were very much at home here, but I suspect their real home is somewhere in some classic Speakeasy/Jazz Bar. A great show, but with only one problem...it was over so quickly. I think most of the audience would happily have spent the whole afternoon listening to Davina and The Vagabonds.
It was also nice to see Davina posing for photos with some members of the audience as they were leaving the show.
Davina and The Vagabonds are doing some other shows in the Jazz Festival (some are sold out), but for more information go to http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.com/programme/artists/davina-and-the-vagabonds.html
For even more information on the band, go to their website at
Review by Tom King