Live Review: Pitou

Broadcast, 01/02

It seems a normal night in Broadcast’s downstairs performance space as I am listening to the two support acts that kick off the evening. Yet as soon as Amsterdam-born musician Pitou takes to the stage, the ceiling that almost touches the top of her head lifts, revealing a marvellous night sky dotted with shooting stars  – these stars are just the yellow and red lights at the back of the stage, but they give an impression of the magnificent atmosphere that her unique voice creates. She knows how to put a spell on the audience, and they are silent all the way through her songs, bursting out in applause and shouts of enthusiasm as the last lingering note disappears.  

Pitou makes magically wonderful folk-pop songs in which she weaves her love for classical choir music together with melancholic melodies, likening her to Laura Marling or The Staves. Her songs are very stripped-back – a few notes on an acoustic guitar here, delightful harmonies between her and her two backing singers there, and a voice that is delicate and stunning throughout. The music that flutters from the stage is not missing anything, though; it is as powerful as it is emotional. Pitou hits each note, however high or low she goes, seemingly without any effort. In the same way, the sometimes truly challenging three-part songs are executed with a nonchalance that is inspiring.  

In between songs, the Dutch artist is a joy to behold too – she is chatty, laughs, forgets English words, thanks the audience over and over and over. We even deserve ‘a medal, a metal medal’ for being so kind and clapping so much. Later, I find out that this appreciation is very genuine. While her gig at Broadcast is part of Celtic Connections, it is not advertised in the booklet nor has it gotten much promotion online, because of a miscommunication between the festival and the artist. It explains why the venue is half-empty, and I feel sorry for everyone who has missed this set. Fortunately, Pitou will probably be back in Glasgow in May as she is planning to release a second EP at that time, so keep on the look-out because damn, her music is beautiful.

[Aike Jansen]

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