By Stephen Mosher
November 5, 2021
The Nairobi imports conquered the New York City
cabaret scene in less than a week. Five days.
Well, the Moipei Triplets had a heck of a month in October. On the 27th they emerged as the darlings of The Cabaret Convention, garnering a throng of new admirers, made up almost entirely of members of the cabaret community. Then, on All Hallows' Eve, the three sisters made their debut to an impressively stocked room in the basement at Birdland. It is more than obvious that Mary, Maggy and Marta have claimed a brand-new family, right here in New York City, and that that family has claimed them.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, these amiable young women have trained tirelessly to create an effect with their voices, and that training has paid off in ways that made the audiences at both of their recent appearances sigh with both joy and wonder, before going out into the night and the week to sing the praises of the vocal group in one family. One could make comparisons to all of the great vocal groups and sister acts of the past, but why take up time and space with an exercise in futility? The simple and economic truth is that The Moipei Triplets sound sensational when they sing - at times mind-blowing, others endearing, but always, always enjoyable, something that originates with the actual sound of each individual voice being presented within their three part harmonies. Each of the ladies is possessing of a voice that carries with it a rich, full-bodied, bold sound; that might sound like a description for a fine wine, and, in many ways, these voices are rather like a great vintage bevy, filled with character, uniqueness, texture, and totally intoxicating. That, by the way, is even before the women begin to talk and reveal their personalities, which are on a par with their voices.
For their musical program, the sisters (attired in matching frocks of different colors with Marta in green, Mary in black, and Maggy in red) worked with their skilled Musical Director Phil Reno to create a set ranging from Beyonce and Miley Cyrus to Benny Goodman and Cole Porter, and they sound wonderful in every genre, having rehearsed all aspects of the show to the nth degree, though there were disappointments in the occasional truncating of songs that would have been fun to hear sung in their entirety. When the ladies are engaged in the act of singing, they are beyond reproach - every word, every note, every harmony all have perfect placement and flawless execution. An audience member could basically close their eyes and float away on the pleasure to be derived from these renditions of songs like "The Sound of Silence" and "If I Fell" but the closing of eyes would completely negate the cheeky senses of humor and playful repartee exchanged between the siblings during a medley of tunes about female empowerment, or some Broadway by way of West Side Story and Hamilton. Maggy, Mary and Marta are accomplished entertainers whose proficiency belies their age, and a welcome addition to the cabaret community of New York and the cabaret industry at large.
Director Matthew Inge, directs them with a clear understanding of their talent and aesthetic.
Nothing on Sunday night could diminish their enchantment, either as singers or as people, an enchantment that will bewitch all who see and hear them in future performances destined to increase their fan base. How appropriate that these three lovely ladies should bring such special sorcery to their Halloween concert at Birdland, thus bewitching an entire room of, now, besotted people.
All hail the conquering sisters.
The Moipei Triplets get a five out of five microphones rating for performing their entire show without the use of a lyric sheet, tablet, or music stand.
Directed by: Matthew Inge
Music Director: Phil Reno
Bass: Michael Kuennen
Drums: Joe Nero
By Peter Danish
July 21, 2022
A Review: MOIPEI at Birdland
The Moipei Triplets Triumphant Return To Birdland!
Let me preface by saying I am not the world's biggest fan of Cabaret. Actually, it's bad cabaret that I have a problem with. But truth be told, for the most part, the vast majority of the cabaret performances I've sat through in the last few years (decades) have not been really bad - but not really good either - merely mediocre. Sometimes wonderful singers with no personality - or all personality and no voice - or no connection with the material - or connection with the audience. Because, really great cabaret requires ALL of the aforementioned qualities, and that precious cocktail has been seriously in short supply.
That is what makes this review so exciting and frankly joyful! Last Monday night, Birdland hosted a performance by dynamic, Kenyan-born, Moipei triplets and their performance single-handedly restored my faith in cabaret as an artform.
It has been ages since I've seen such a remarkable combination of world-class singing, bracingly original arrangements (done by the sisters themselves!) of such an eclectic set of material.
Mary, Maggy and Marta Moipei (that's a lot of alliteration!) performed a set that ran the gauntlet from jazz to blues, to rock, pop, Broadway and just about every other genre you can think of - and most impressive of all, not a clunker in the entire set! Including two ravishing, heart-stirring ballads in their native Kenyan.
Extremely original arrangements of Berlin, Bernstein, the Beatles and Beyonce (and that's just the B's!) were all delivered with razor sharp accuracy, operatic-level breath control and positively stunning harmonies - and their superb three-piece backing band was totally on point throughout.
The ladies shared stories of their journey "from the land of the lion to the great white way." Their anecdotes were heartfelt and often hilarious as they detailed their lives from going to high school across the street from a jungle park, replete with visits by the occasional lion or elephant, to living as young single ladies in New York (cue the Beyonce!) They even delivered a red-hot take on Hamilton's "Not Giving Away My Shot!" with a three-part harmony arrangement that would make Alex Lacamore proud (Lin Manuel Miranda are you listening?)
Even the most seasoned cabaret performers struggle to overcome the inherent divide between artist and audience in order for the chemistry to work - the art form relies on it. These ladies, while relative newcomers to the scene, completely disarmed and charmed the pants off the capacity crowd with just the right level of intimacy and lighthearted informality to make the whole evening feel like a gleeful dinner party conversation.
The structure of the show, the arc of their story-telling, and their complete communion with the audience was really exquisite. I gazed around the audience numerous times over the course of the 75- minute set and each time I saw nothing but a sea of joyful, smiling, cheerful faces. THAT is great cabaret. That is what Moipei delivered. To put it succinctly, it was simply the most entertaining cabaret performance I've ever seen. Full stop. MOIPEI -- Put them on your radar, guys. They are very, very special indeed.
Directed by: Matthew Inge
Music Director: Mat Eisenstein
Bass: Michael Kuennen
Drums: Joe Nero