Review: Carol Lipnik Soars at Pangea

Carol Lipnik performing at Pangea. Photo by The Lo-Down
Carol Lipnik performing at Pangea. Photo by The Lo-Down
Carol Lipnik performing at Pangea. Photo by The Lo-Down

Within the first few bars of her opening song at Pangea, Carol Lipnik effectively begins to weave a sort of sonic cocoon that gently envelops and contains her audience. By the song’s end that vessel is complete and her listeners are rapt: warm, safe, suspended, and ready for something magical to happen. It does!

“Welcome to the séance,” she says, smiling gently. It’s an apt description of what follows.

In a set that flows steadily and lyrically between covers and original compositions, Lipnik sings of other worlds, other beings and other states of consciousness.

It perfectly showcases her remarkable voice, which is at once both soothing and arresting. Her lower register resonates with a beautiful warmth. Her upper tones emit a haunting, ghostlike sound, like the ethereal call of a loon.

For all the headiness of her subject matter, Lipnik remains grounded and playful throughout, engaging her audience with a humorous theatrical flare that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Her accompanist Matt Kanelos supports her at every turn not only at the piano, but also with subtly infused sound effects and perfectly timed, nuanced backing vocals.

Stand outs from the set include Lipnik’s “The Oyster and the Sand” and Kanelos’s “Non-Violent Man”. Both songs are extremely moving, with lyrics that are piercing in their simplicity.

The performance space at Pangea has a cozy, bohemian flare to it and and reminds me of the long gone Fez Lounge but smaller, and with better sound (and no subways rumbling underneath). It seems to be a perfect fit for Lipnik — she and Kanelos have no problem filling the room with their lush soundscape.

Check out this outstanding act while you can!

Carol Lipnik and Matt Kanelos perform Sundays at 7:30p.m. at Pangea (178 2nd Ave., between 11th/12th St.) tickets are $15 or $20 at the door plus $15 food/drink min.