This excellent post by Chad over at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands got me thinking about a gig I went to about 5 years ago at The Cornish Arms in Melbourne. Sisters Vika and Linda are Australian but their mother is from Tonga and they maintain strong links to their heritage. They also do a hell of a live gig – they absolutely ripped the place up with their gut wrenching, uplifting brand of soul and gospel.

I remember being a little hesitant to go to this gig as it was right around the time of their gospel release Tell The Angels. I am not at all religious and I felt a little uncomfortable with the idea of sitting through what I thought would be something akin to a church service. I don’t mean that I thought they’d all be singing dirge-like hymns, but I did think that it was possible there might be a little preaching and I have never felt comfortable in those kinds of situations.

It took me all of about 10 seconds to realise that I was in for a real treat. The details of the gig are a little fuzzy in my memory now, but there was no preaching or anything like that, just sheer musical abandon. They had a killer piano player and a wonderful guy on lead guitar, and their enthusiasm knew no bounds. Vika and Linda were phenomenal, belting out tune after tune, barely stopping to pause for breath. Their sound seemed to come from deep within and at some points I thought the combination of their voices and the sheer joy emanating from the stage would lift the roof right off. I actually had tears in my eyes at one point, such was the power of the music that was being created before me.

I couldn’t say it any better than Chad has:

It connects to a deeper part of me, somewhere deep down inside where it’s no longer even about the words but almost entirely about the feeling buried within them.

Make sure you check out the rest of Chad’s post, and you can also find an amazing version there of ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ which I believe was recorded in 1921.

Make sure you also have a listen to the tracks below as well, because they’re wonderful. You’ll hear rockin’ piano solos, slow guitar jams and uplifting, soaring vocals. I’ve included a couple of live mp3s from that show, as well as a couple of earlier tracks from their debut album Vika & Linda, which also included a bonus disc with 5 gospel tracks. Oh, and I chucked a cover in for good measure. I grew up on this stuff, and I still never tire of it. Enjoy.

Tell The Angels – Vika & Linda

Slow Train – Vika & Linda

Who Rolled The Stone Away? – Vika & Linda

Set On Freedom – Vika & Linda

Up Above My Head – Vika & Linda

Have A Little Faith In Me (John Hiatt Cover) – Vika & Linda

The title of this post is a lyric from ‘Tell The Angels’, which Vika and Linda wrote in memory of their grandfather.