The Mummers are back after a nine month break following the tragic suicide of composer Mark Horwood, the man principally responsible for their lush, orchestral sound. They’ve made the decision to keep the band going, which they’ve said is partly thanks to the letters and emails of support they’ve received from fans. This is their first date since the events of last year and it’s a good turnout.
Led by Raissa Khan-Panni (who must get tired of her voice constantly being compared to Bjork), the band consists of drums, double bass, keyboards, trumpet, guitar/percussion, viola and two violins. There’s four guys and five women on stage, with most of the stringed instruments at the front of the stage.
The Mummers’ sound encompasses influences from the Flaming Lips to Baroque to naggingly familiar MGM musicals, with Raissa’s plaintive vocals adding the perfect touch to the orchestral feel. She begins the first song from the middle of the dancefloor before gradually moving onto the stage. They got a new EP out soon called “Mink Hollow Road” and do a new song from there called “Fade away”. It’s in a similar vein to songs on last year’s “Tale to tell” album, lush strings and trumpet combining to give almost a film soundtrack feel. Raissa is on great form tonight, playing melodica and occasionally keyboards as well as looping up her vocals with an effects pedal as an introduction to a couple of the songs.
She dedicates their great song “Nightbus” to Mark Horwood, saying it was his favourite Mummers song. There’s a small framed black and white picture of him at the back of the stage and it’s a nice touch without being overly mawkish. The band sound great, the Jazz Cafe being a good venue for this sort of orchestration. They then play “Driving home”, “Place for us”, “Heaven” and “Stuck”, with Raissa again leaving the stage to sing from the middle of the dancefloor for this final number.
They encore with “Cherry” and “March of the dawn”, the song that probably prompts the greatest comparisons between Raissa’s voice and Bjork’s. The whole set lasts around 65 minutes and is a triumphant comeback for a band that obviously has more to offer.
You see where the Bjork comparisons come from on one of my favourite Mummers songs “March of the dawn”
And their great song “Nightbus” (Mark Horwood RIP)