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Watch Nilüfer Yanya perform Midnight Sun on The Tonight Show with a Fender Player Plus Strat – and a pair of angel wings

Nilüfer Yanya performed her track Midnight Sun on The Tonight Show this week, appearing with a pair of pink angel wings and playing a Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS.

The UK guitarist and songwriter released her second album PAINLESS earlier this month (March 3), and Midnight Sun marks the second single from the record.

As she did with her performance of Crash on Fallon last year, Yanya appeared with a three-piece band of bass, drums and saxophone, but the group seems to be sounding exceptionally crisp in the latest clip.

In contrast to the Jazzmasters Yanya usually favors, she opted for a Fender Player Plus Strat HSS in Belair Blue for the TV appearance. Across the performance, the track revolves between cycling fingerpicked sections, more determined, strummed chorus lines and a deliciously heavy, fuzzed closing third, as the saxophone provides a dissonant counterpoint to the guitar’s warmth. 

“It’s a song about recognising what it feels like to be pushed down but wanting to resist,” says Yanya. “I really like the imagery of ‘midnight sun’ as a lyric as it insinuates a light guiding you through darkness.” 

As the daughter of two artists, Yanya has always had a flair for the visual aesthetic, and the wings she has donned for promotional appearances have a meaning that relates to the track, too.

“The wings carry their own symbolism - freedom, lightness, flight, fantasy…” says the songwriter. “If I could pick what people saw and heard it would be: seeing the beauty of confrontation and the necessity of rebellion.”

Check out the clip above, and if you want to know more, read Total Guitar’s full interview with Nilüfer Yanya.

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.