Talented women from all corners of the globe come together as GRRRL to celebrate sisterhood and the unique power of the female voice for In Place of War 

When something is touted as a fusion of styles combining musical styles so distinctive as ghetto bass, dancehall, reggae and electronica, and whatever dark techno is, it’s hard to know what to expect from a Thursday night at Hoxton’s Folklore.

The Moroccan-vibe joint was lit with neon love hearts and wax candles for the event, accompanied by the rhythms of DJs Mixhell, Mamiko Motto, Tasty Lopez, Thomas Pardhy, B’N’B and Paranoid London.

When it was finally time for GRRRL to take to the stage, Folklore’s back room was positively heaving with sweaty bodies, the space not quite large enough for dancing arms and legs akimbo. That was somewhat of a shame since as soon as Henrietta Smith-Rolla took to the decks that was all anyone wanted to do.

The grizzly-voiced Lei Di Dai from Brazil provided the bass for the group, with a unique vocal range that had me questioning whether or not the sound was electronically altered on more than one occasion. It wasn’t. She was joined in her impossibly fast rap spits by glittered-up and sparkly AWA Khiwe from Zimbabwe.

Injecting a little Asian fusion into the mix was Bangladeshi Sohini Alam, whose enigmatic arrangement overlaid the electro pop baseline with a modern touch. Her vocal distinction was matched by the energy and of Ghanaian Noella Wiyaala, whose stage presence was second to none.

The soulful but somewhat underplayed voice of Nono Nkoane was a welcome contrast to the rest of the group, which also includes DJ Mabe Chacín from Caracas and Speech Debelle, who took home the Mercury Prize in 2009.

Directed by Brazilian Laima Leyton of Mixhell and Soulwax, GRRRL was formed out of the creative vision of the team at In Place of War, a group that seeks to support creative talent through collaboration and creating space to start a dialogue in places of conflict across the globe. All proceeds from the evening went to the organisation.

Despite the variety of cultural sounds and musical styles, the collaboration was audio-visually arresting in every sense of the word. It was virtually impossible to peel your eyes away from the movements of Wiyaala, and as each of the girls supported one another through their solos and centre stage moments, the overwhelming outcome was a feeling of shared sisterhood between the artists, and a passion and deep support for one another’s talents.

Over the course of the hour-long set, with virtually no pause for breath, the women succeeded in bringing immeasurably “positive vibrations” to Hoxton, with a wholly unexpected and boundlessly rousing performance that reminded the audience why women’s voices matter. This sense of empowerment is rarely seen on the stage, and was refreshing from a group of indisputably talented and emboldened women from every corner of the globe in the global city that is London.

One hour on, and several G&Ts down, as GRRRL’s time on the stage drew to a close it was impossible not to leave with a broad smile on your face and the motivation to “do what you want, get your groove on.”

GRRRL’s tracks will be available to buy after the tour closes on September 2 in Hull. Remaining UK-wide dates here.