Bizarre Childhood Memories from Oy

Courtesy Picture from Patrick Principe

Think, Erykah Badu of Switzerland. Artist Oy opened up with some slam poetry, surrounding herself with miniature dolls in control of her sound machines. I felt right at home (Columbia College Chicago home) in an almost empty room full of hipsters where she began to perform her unique music; but unique cannot come near describing Oy and her music.

She sang about childhood memories with her jazz, hip-hop vocals. Remember when you were a kid and never wanted to take a bath? Or you were afraid of the ‘angry toilet witch’ who would grab you down if you didn’t flush in time, maybe not that last one but there are the exact themes Oy stressed.

Her performance was a mixture of live sampling from kid toys, hip-hop beats and jazz vocals. At one point in the night (now in a almost full venue) she leaned to the microphone, calmly sticking out her tongue and making that “raspberry” sound. You know the one, when you blow on someone’s belly causing them to squeal like a little pig. She recorded that, continued it on a loop, and blended it with a beat. She then proceeded to pick up a baby rattle, and added that recording to her mix. Meanwhile she flicked at her miniature dolls; each had their own sound as if they were the members of the band. But this was not just one song, she continued on throughout her solo performance, bringing childhood memories to life on stage.

Oy certainly brings something new to the table: she creates this new way of performing, making it intriguing and hard to even blink since it is so bizarre, yet she builds this intimacy with the crowd. She is inventing new and original ways of using her voice, live samples, dark-noises, poetry, and comedy all into one.

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