No doubt soon you will become very familiar with the name Thomas Abban in music circles in the Twin Cities, and beyond. The 21 year old Welsh-Ghanaian artist has taken the Minneapolis music scene by storm. The recent release of A Sheik’s Legacy puts a spotlight on Abban’s effortless falsetto evocative of Bruno Mars and his talented finger picking guitar that at times delves into the sound stylings of a sitar, or that of a flamenco guitar. Abban is NO hack on the electric guitar and if you need a comparison then I would head down the road to the likes of Jimmy Page, especially when Abban creates an otherworldly soundscape that inventively bends and collides with his impassioned vocals. Abban’s rhythmic sensibilities are quite reminiscent of Middle Eastern and Eastern European folk music and do much to create an escape into another place, or time.
This isn’t an artist that one can easily nail down into a single genre, with songs that run the gamut from soul/R & B, to pop and rock. Plus, it wouldn’t be right to pigeonhole Abban into a certain category, he just might be on his way to creating his very own.
Being that Abban was not only the sole player on A Sheik’s Legacy, but also self-produced, composed, wrote and arranged the album as well, I wondered how it would translate onstage. I needn’t have worried, Abban is a charismatic performer, drawing you in with an intensity that is not gimmicky or contrived. I saw him perform solo at the Aster Cafe, an oft chatter filled and at times difficult venue to really experience live music. On the night of Abban’s performance however, the room fell uncharacteristically silent. The audience was transfixed and gave not one, but two standing ovations. Abban obliged the first ovation, but on the occasion of the second made a beeline through the room and strode out the door. I can only guess that he was overcome?
Truly Abban has the gift. A STAR is born.
The next time that you can see Thomas Abban perform will be with The Honeydogs at The Turf Club on Friday, December 15th
~By Rebecca Marx, Photo Credit Tony Nelson