Joanna Burns is back again with her weekly round-up of music you should listen to! This week, she adds a twist with recommending five of the best live sessions to listen to!


Here’s a look at the five best live session YouTube channels to listen to. I have given my favourite example but do check out the whole YouTube channel.

Sofar Sounds

Sofar Sounds have made a reputation for themselves around the world now for putting on some of the most unique live sessions around. Taking place in people’s houses and other casual settings, the sessions provide an intimate setting for artists to create a really special atmosphere to enhance their music. As an audience member, you are really incorporated into the music being so close to the artist. Artists such as Hozier, James Bay and George The Poet (you should definitely check out his performance) have been part of Sofar Sounds but it is also a platform for up and coming artists to perform and spread their music. Here’s Wovoka Gentle performing at a recent Sofar Sounds in London.


The Crypt Sessions

The Crypt Sessions pride themselves on only picking top quality musicians and songs to record live. While not having an audience like Sofar Sounds, The Crypt Sessions provides an intimacy for the video viewer through their simplistic and raw recording of the track. Live music cannot be topped and they are able to capture the emotion that comes with it perfectly. A prime example of this is their session with Keaton Henson, an incredible musician who suffers from intense stage fright. This is quite obvious in the video but that makes it all the more special.


La Blogotheque 

I was only recently introduced to La Blogotheque sessions by a friend and I have been addicted to them ever since. The way they go about doing sessions is incredibly unique, walking around cities with the artists as they sing and make music. Watching the public’s reaction to this is really special and the talent of the musicians who take part is incredible. It is not only a chance for the audience to experience the music but for the musicians to re-explore their music. I could not choose between my two favourite sessions to here are two, one from The National and one from Local Natives, filmed in Perpignan and Paris respectively. Both are very raw in different ways and equally beautiful.


Barn on the Farm Sessions

Barn on the Farm festival recently won the UK’s Best Independent Festival, having hosted acts like Ed Sheeran in his early days, Jack Garratt and The Staves. It showcases the best new indie and folk artists and the live sessions recorded during the festival show this off. Set on a picturesque farm in Gloucestershire, the sessions are all set in interesting locations around the farm and are beautifully shot to show off the surroundings but, most importantly, the artist and their music. Here is Gabrielle Aplin’s recent sessions at the festival in July 2015.


NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

I have followed the Tiny Desk Concerts for years now and they consistently release beautiful videos of amazing artists. They are all recorded in the NPR Music offices; it is surrounded by walls covered in books and records and instruments propped up against desks. They have hosted a real mix of artists from John Legend to Wolf Alice to T-Pain, but my favourite one is by The Civil Wars as it is another opportunity to witness their incredibly tight voices together in a very chilled session. There is something so special about seeing artists playing real instruments as opposed to listening to their processed tracks on Spotify or iTunes. It is so simple but it is a skill that so many musicians now do not have. All these sessions give me hope about all the crazy talented musicians out there.



Joanna Burns