Show Recap: Mon Rovîa - Local Wolves


Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY — June 11, 2024

Photographing musicians in New York means I often find myself at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right. With such a diverse, iconic history, it’s an apt stop for the ukulele-wielding Mon Rovîa. A poet meet songwriter, Mon Rovîa has been releasing music for a mere three years, yet already has cemented his voice as a force within the folk landscape. Rovîa’s intricate discography and performance at Baby’s has left me considering how best to discuss my experience because, truth be told, I don’t have nights like this very often.

Poignant introspection is an understatement. Whether it’s the weathered soul of “City on a Hill,” or the way-finding of a pulsing loss in “Damn These Forces,” Mon Rovîa’s heart is on full display. Fear of vulnerability couldn’t ring more untrue for the Liberian-born talent, and it’s this precise desire to unfold that leads the Brooklyn crowd and fans across the globe to his stage. Between songs, Rovîa spoke about the many trials of his past — escaping war-torn Liberia, falling into substance abuse, grief and isolation. Throughout each interlude, one message remained clear: we are not alone. Here, in this hall I’d photographed many nights before, I became more than the anxiety that walked through the door with me. Each song, each moment awaiting the next, a peace befell us in Brooklyn. Those to my left, those to my right, we swam in this peace together, and sang of our longing for peace, and accepted the peace that awaited at the end of the night. Mon Rovîa’s music calls to those in need of a friend, and in turn has forged a community unified and uplifted.

The night ended with a group sing-a-long of “Big Love Ahead,” a shimmering, hopeful tune that serves as the starting point for my journey with Mon Rovîa’s music. “Big love ahead, mountaintops you’ll scale,” fluttered throughout the room, lights low and voices strong. Rovîa and his ukulele, now in the center of the room with the audience surrounding him, circled around himself as each voice heightened. “Big love ahead, mountaintops you’ll scale.” Intimate and earnest, we exhaled our last, “Big love ahead, mountaintops you’ll scale,” with Rovîa. Gleaming grins and bright eyes took hold of the crowd and lingered on our faces as we stepped into the nighttime summer air. Subway cars clamored in the distance. Night lights glowed orange dimly on the pavement. But there was peace, even if only for the train ride home.

Words & Photography: Victoria Rose Huerta

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