Soul Sisters

Rihanna and Joan Armatrading perform here this week to music fans both young and old.

rihanna and joan armatrading 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
rihanna and joan armatrading 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Despite Elvis Costello’s cancellation of his two shows here next month, there’s still an amazing amount of international talent rolling through the country almost every week. Take next week, for example, which will begin with red hot R&B teen idol Rihanna performing at Bloomfield Stadium for an exclusive group of young Israelis who signed up for the Orange/Rockcorps volunteer program doing community work in exchange for a ticket to the show.
Zoom to the end of the week, and there’s an alternative, no less scintillating, for the oldtimers – Joan Armatrading will be playing two shows on Friday and Saturday nights at the Shoni Amphitheater in Binyamina and at Heichal Hatarbut in Tel Aviv, respectively.
The two artists couldn’t be at more different points in their career,and it’s unlikely that there’ll be anyone attending both shows. Butupon closer inspection, the similarities between Rihanna andArmatrading outweigh their differences.
Rihanna’s 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad featuredfive top 10 singles in America including, “Umbrella,” “Disturbia” and“Don’t Stop the Music.” Her latest album, Rated R,already has three top 10 singles, giving her more top 10 hits than anyother female artist of the past 10 years.
Besides her music, the 22-year-old native of Barbados was in thespotlight last year as a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of herthen-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown. Extricated from that situation,she’s emerged even more popular, collaborating with Jay-Z and West onthe song “Run This Town,” which ended up winning a Grammy Award forBest Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Initially considered ateen-oriented singer, Rihanna was cited by RollingStone magazine as making “one of the best pop albums of theyear” with Rated R.
The 59-year-old Armatrading, a native of Saint Kitts in the WestIndies, is also no stranger to Grammys. Since releasing her stunning1975 debut album Back to the Night, which introducedher as a major talent, she’s been nominated for three Grammys. Over thenext few years and equally riveting albums like 1977’s ShowSome Emotion and 1978’s To the Limit shebecame a singer/songwriter fixture, appealing to acoustic pop and jazzenthusiasts, as well as rock new wavers. The move toward a morecommercial, harder rock sound emerged in 1980 with Me MyselfI, and flourished with the next year’s Walk underLadders, which spawned her biggest hit single “Drop thePilot.”
The ensuing years have seen sporadic success for Armatrading, who by2003 was without a recording contract and releasing albums on her own,including this year’s well-received This CharmingLife.
Whether a 22-year-old R&B sensation at the top of the bubble or a59-year-old career veteran still making heartfelt, meaningful music,this week’s book end lineup of Rihanna and Joan Armatrading is a greatway to demonstrate the musical diversity available to local fans.