First day with Mahalia and friends – Brighton and Hove News

First day with Mahalia and friends – Brighton and Hove News


Europe’s largest open-air jazz festival ‘Supreme love’ returned to the beautiful rural setting of Glynde Place on the South Downs from 5th to 7th July.

The annual three-day Love Supreme Jazz Festival showcases the best of jazz, funk, soul and blues.

This year’s event included headline shows from Olivia Deanthe legendary Dionne Warwickand the equally legendary Chaka Khan. Also on the bill for the acclaimed three-day festival were artists from the UK, Funk Soul Brothers, Mahalia, Joel Culpepper, Joss stone, Galiano It is Alice Russell.

Other artists like Kool and his gang, Black Pumas, Unnamed, Hiromi, Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Balimaya Project It is Cecile McLorin Salvant to name a few, came from different parts of the world, adding a global perspective to the festival.

There were too many acts to cover in just one article, so we’ve broken them down in date order. This article will cover the acts that were covered on Friday, July 5th only. Part 2 will cover the acts that performed on Saturday, July 6th. and Part 3 on the acts that performed on Sunday, July 7th will follow in the next few days.

Love Supreme 5.7.24 (photos Sara-Louise Bowrey)

‘Supreme love’, As more than one artist has said, this past weekend has become an iconic event in the music calendar, attracting music legends including the likes of Grace Jones, Erykah Badu, Sister Sledge and Shalimar. This year was no exception with the legendary Dionne Warwick It is Chaka Khan who is celebrating his fiftieth anniversary in music, a milestone rarely contemplated, much less celebrated.

You don’t have to be a jazz fan to enjoy it ‘Supreme love’, There is so much musical choice and indeed so many different forms of jazz available in general that there is no need to be fully appraised of the often derided and maligned form of music which, along with the blues, underpins the majority of modern music. Yes, even punk can trace some lineage to jazz and/or blues, but I am not here to convince you of the validity of jazz, there are many better placed and more learned than I on that.

I am reporting from 2024 ‘Supreme love’s line-up, which was groaning with the best current musical choices from the UK and around the world, some steeped in old school jazz, some dabbling in the genre and some who are rightly considered legends of all musical genres, not just jazz. There was something for everyone, no matter their taste.

Friday, July 5th:


James Brandon Lewis at Love Supreme 5.7.24 (photos Sara-Louise Bowrey)

Luckily, we arrived at the venue a little earlier than expected, having rushed back from Fink’s presentation at the Resident store in Brighton (review HERE).

When we arrived at Glynde Place, we were able to watch a bit of a show by tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and his quartet.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I’m a saxophone nut and even started learning alto for a while there. As such, I have nothing but admiration for a saxophonist. It takes powerful lungs (which I unfortunately don’t have) and breath control to get the best out of the instrument. The saxophone isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I was eager to experience what James Brandon Lewis and his quartet would do with the instrument before we had to head to Mahalia’s set across the venue.

The American jazz composer and saxophonist plays the tenor sax, a sound that is rounder, earthier, atmospheric and evocative in its lower end, but almost abrasive and tense in its upper end. It’s the sound that most people associate with “traditional jazz.” For those not accustomed to a “harder” jazz sound, James Brandon Lewis’s occasionally discordant, experimental and “modern” jazz set might be a bit much to ease into the weekend. But for those who LOVE a bit of experimental, “punk” jazz, the set was a real treat.

His latest and fourth album, ‘Transfigurations’‘ was released earlier this year. Featuring eight tracks of thunderous experimental jazz, the album, like their set, could feel meandering or heavy. During the set, the songs seemed to seamlessly blend into one another. Piano, drums, bass and, of course, sax, played off each other sonically, sometimes heartfeltly, sometimes confrontationally. It was thrilling to witness such a talented group playing with the genre and experimenting in front of us. I would have loved to see more of the set, but the South Downs stage beckoned.


Mahalia at Love Supreme 5.7.24 (photos Sara-Louise Bowrey)

To say that 26-year-old Mahalia (aka Mahalia Burkmar) is currently enjoying a moment of popularity would be an understatement. The artist is what is known as a “triple threat.” She’s a singer, songwriter, and actress (she more than proved that she can dance, too, during her set). The crowd went wild when the artist took the stage. Teenage girls rushed to the front as the opening bars of the artist’s familiar sounds rippled through the tent.

Grinning from ear to ear, Mahalia greeted the crowd “Hello Hello!” The brief interaction resulted in even more screams, as did the end of each subsequent song throughout the set. As the opening song continued, the screams from inside the tent drew an ever-increasing crowd from other stages. The audience demographic was wide-ranging. Families sang along to their hits, as did groups of teenage girls, the odd lost middle-aged gentleman, and everything and everyone in between; it was all a bit much to take in, given the unexpected speed with which the tent went from moderately full to bursting at the seams.

At the end of the first track the artist took the opportunity to greet the audience properly, “Hello everyone! My name is Mahalia. I want to explain what this is like. The last time I was here was a year ago…” Her words were drowned out by the screams of the audience, but I think she was impressed by the enthusiasm of the audience and how much she had improved since the last time she performed. ‘Supreme love‘ and the success that followed.

The next clear interaction I noticed was: “I’m a Leicester girl and I’m a chatty Cathy,” as she signaled that she would interact frequently with her adoring fans.

She also confirmed that her set would be a mix of all the material she has released so far during her nine-year career. She confirmed that this would include EPs as well as singles and albums, much to the obvious delight of the audience.

“This one is about how I’m kind of a ‘girl crush,’ and it’s called ‘Plastic Plants.’” A particular highlight during this song was a mother singing along to the perfect word as her partner and daughters broke into a familiar call-and-response version of the track near us. Far from being annoying, it was an endearing bonding moment for the family in question, who were all smiles and hugs, singing along quite melodiously as a group.

After this track, Mahalia excitedly informed the audience that her mother and father could be found among them, “Hello, Mom and Dad!” She continued, “I can’t explain how much I love this festival! This time I won’t hold back, we have a very close band!”. More screams from the audience“You’re so adorable, aren’t you?!”she continued once the crowd had calmed down a bit, “Next up is the title track…”again his words evaporated in the screams of the crowd before I could decipher them.

This exuberant honesty and warmth are, I think, the key to her cross-generational appeal. That and the down-to-earth relationship of her songs to their subject matter. The combination appeals to all age groups, bringing them together to enjoy a young artist currently experiencing a well-deserved surge in popularity and success, long may it last.

From day one, we knew it would be impossible to cover all the musical talent on offer over the weekend. With three main stages, North Downs, South Downs and Supreme Standards and seven additional smaller stages including One Jazz x Jazz in the Round, Blue in The Green, New Generation Jazz, Jazz Lounge with One Jazz, Bands and Voices and South Supremium, we decided to focus primarily on the main stages and just the bands. While these decisions meant we missed out on covering many of the smaller, newer acts, we did find some absolute gems across the three days of the festival.

‘Supreme love’ will return to Glynde from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th July 2025. You can find more information HERE.