Friday, October 27, 2017

‘Step into My Parlour’ by Michelle Burke

27 October 2017

On Wednesday morning I was at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh for ‘Step into My Parlour’ – a dementia-friendly event as part of the Luminate Festival. The singer Michelle Burke and pianist James Ross performed songs celebrating the theme of childhood, linked to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s photography exhibition ‘When We Were Young’. Inspired by photographs and documents found in Michelle’s grandparents’ house in County Cork, it was a lovely show which gently prompted the audience’s own memories of childhood. Michelle sang a mixture of Irish folk songs and singalong standards. She has a beautifully clear voice with a strong Irish accent, and reminded me of my favourite Nottingham folk singer, Ruth Notman (albeit with a different accent). There is a real skill in working with an audience with wide-ranging and inconsistent levels of understanding but Michelle managed to keep everyone enthralled. Most of the songs she performed are on her album ‘Step Into My Parlour’ (which features some impressive musical guests): You can also see more about the ideas behind ‘Step Into My Parlour’ in this promo film:

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