Thursday, December 5, 2013

Annabella Lwin at the Bowery Electric

Myant Myant Aye Dunn-Lwin was born in 1966 to a Burmese father and an English mother in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). In 1980, at age 13, while working part-time at a dry cleaner in North London, she was spotted by a friend of Malcolm McLaren. An established architect of the punk rock movement in England, McLaren changed her name to Annabella Lwin and had her front a new band, Bow Wow Wow, with former members of Adam & the Ants with the intention of using the band to promote his fashion line. Lwin shaved her head into a Mohawk, became a punk icon pictured in many music magazines, and then caused controversy the following year at age 15 by posing nude for the cover of the group's first album, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy. After three albums, the 16-year-old was ousted from the band in September 1983 and she embarked on a solo career, releasing Fever in 1986, while the other members formed the Chiefs of Relief.

At the Bowery Electric tonight, Annabella Lwin was 30 years older than the ingénue that fronted the punk rocking Bow Wow Wow. As a youth, her vocals swung between adolescent pouting and a screaming banshee; while she recalled some of those flavors, the new Lwin showed she was more interested in singing like an adult. Lwin let out a few girlish squeals and chants singing Bow Wow Wow songs, including “C·30 C·60 C·90 Go", "See Jungle! (Jungle Boy)", "Do You Wanna Hold Me?" and a cover of a 1965 hit by the Strangeloves, "I Want Candy." For those songs, her three musicians brought back the original tom-tom-heavy tribal sound. Lwin grew into a middle-aged Buddhist singer-songwriter, however, and would not simply replay the songs she sang as a child. Her set included her newer, softer and often danceable pop songs, some with titles like “Love, Peace and Harmony” and “Sacred Ground.” She performed a 75-minute set, 17 songs in total, and she performed well, not with a remarkable voice but with a joyful spirit. The question is how much of an audience can be generated for this new mix.

Visit Annabella Lwin at