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August 17, 2009 6:02 PM

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Make Some Noise

Shingai Shoniwa of the NoisettesPhoto by Bruno J. Navarro You'd have a tough time trying to find a more aptly named band than The Noisettes. The London-based trio deftly -- and loudly -- fuses the classic sounds of Motown...

Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes
Photo by Bruno J. Navarro
You'd have a tough time trying to find a more aptly named band than The Noisettes. The London-based trio deftly -- and loudly -- fuses the classic sounds of Motown girl groups with elements of alt-rock, pop and blues to create its signature style.

What the band's name doesn't quite convey, however, is singer-bassist Shingai Shoniwa's no-holds-barred approach to her onstage attire. "My main inspiration is my African culture," she told WWD. "If you came to my mum's house or my grandmother's house, I would probably look quite boring to you. No one is allowed to be a wallflower in my family."

During a performance last week at downtown Manhattan venue Santo's Party House, Shoniwa vintage button-up Alaïa jacket, a vintage bustier and a skirt by Rare made into shorts. At times, playing with unbridled energy alongside guitarist Dan Smith and drummer Jamie Morrison, she resembled a barefoot bass-playing superhero.

She jumped, climbed on the drum set and danced around to tracks such as the band's current U.K. hit "Don't Upset the Rhythm" and "Never Forget You," which sounds like a long-lost Supremes track. Both are from the band's second album, "Wild Young Hearts," set for release Sept. 22.

When it comes to her music, Shoniwa is influenced by everything from old-school jazz, Grace Jones and Jimi Hendrix to Kate Bush, "Singing in the Rain" and M.I.A.

"I'm really inspired by iconic art from yesteryear," Shoniwa said. "In the Twenties and Thirties, you'd go to hear artists at the Apollo, on Broadway and 42nd Street -- and they didn't even have microphones."
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