Powerful soul comes to town

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 12:14 05/06/2014
Bella Kalolo
AMY JACKMAN/FAIRFAX NZ

BELTING IT OUT: Soul singer Bella Kalolo sings, accompanied by her husband and Soul Symphony member Alistair Isdale.

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A powerful soul sister and symphony will take to the Opera House stage for this year's Wellington Jazz Festival.

Bella Kalolo and her band, The Soul Symphony, are performing together for the first time in years, and the Wellington-based singer couldn't be more excited.

"It's going to be really awesome," she said.

"We are all really good friends.

"It's going to be a bit nostalgic, but way better than that because we will all be together again.

"We were rehearsing and it just felt like a dream."

Kalolo said performing with the band would bring the music she had written with husband Alistair Isdale to life.

"It allows the fullness of the music we have written to be realised," she said.

"There's something rewarding about it for us and the audience.

"I also love the trust you get from performing with musicians.

"You are a group and you have to work together."

Kalolo has been singing since she was 3 and started performing with her father when she was 5.

She focused more on art, kapa haka and drama in her teenage years, before returning to her first love after leaving school.

"Being brought up in a musical family means that you either run towards or away from it," she said. "I told my mum when I was 4 that I was going to be a singer. I love it."

Kalolo said she loved the jazz- soul genre for the freedom it gave her.

"I love classical because it's disciplined, but soul because of the freedom," she said. You can take a melody and choose to represent that how you want - high, low, loud, soft."

One of the highlights of her career as a singer was meeting her idol, Chaka Khan, at the Sydney Festival earlier this year.

"I just wanted a chance to see her or maybe get a photo. I'd finished my set and heard a rumour that she was around, but didn't think anything of it.

"I was taking off my makeup and suddenly the co-ordinator came and said there was someone who wanted to meet me and she just walked in.

"It was mad and unbelievable. She asked me to sing with her.

"I couldn't quite get what had happened!" Bella Kalolo and The Soul Symphony, Opera House, Manners St, June 7, 9pm.

For more Wellington Jazz Festival shows check out the Gig Guide, Page 20.

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- The Wellingtonian

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