Valentines day 1920 Mamie Smith stepped up to the microphone in The Okeh Company in New York and shouted out “That Thing Called Love”. Smith made the first recording of a black female vocalist and opened the door to a generation of “Classic Blues” vocalists, transforming the blues from local folk music into the art form it is today.
Female blues singers brought black culture into the American mainstream and are the “Classic Women“ of the blues, making a significant contribution to the development of jazz and blues in popular music. Ladies in the Blues pays homage to these women, telling the story of the progression of the blues through song with Ireland's leading blues divas and a band comprising Ireland's finest blues musicians.
Twitter: What a Jazz Festival Opening!!! Ladies in the Blues are fabulous! The voices, the talent!!! And they are all marvellously incredible women! I am blown away, I am high on music now wasborntobehappy
Facebook: Saw these fab women at the Cork Jazz Fest and they are incredible!! Denise Aubin O’Connor
Facebook: This concert is absolutely amazing – do not miss it – saw it in Glor Fabulous. Shiela Quinn
Facebook: Best concert I was ever at, don’t miss this group, their voices are sublime, personalities are wonderful & their moves are awesome. Can’t wait to hear them again in Glor. Martina Herbert
Facebook: Blew the roof off Siamsa powerful vocals authentic rhythm & blues ! Brian Irwin
Facebook: Oh my word you 4 lassies are just sublime amazing breath-taking.. Rocked my boat body and mind. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEST NIGHT LOVELY TO MEET YOU ALL. LADS PLAYING. TOP JOB. so grateful to the 2 kind hearted band lads who helped me out. Hope to see you all again one day. Much luck. Joan Allenden
Facebook: Geoff Scargill In Bray too. Absolutely great!!! Don’t miss it!!!!!
Facebook: Gabriella Hanrahan Fab fab fab show don't miss it, brought the house down in Ennis xx
Show review from Ladies in the Blues premiere performance in the Mermaid Arts Centre
Highlight of the weekend was LADIES IN THE BLUES, a spectacular, opening night stage production, featuring four female singers and a cracking band of blues’ sidemen performing songs written and recorded by women in the history of the blues.
It features Flo McSweeney, one of Ireland’s best known female vocalists who has worked with cutting edge rock, blues and jazz bands in the past; Emma Nicolai, a singer/songwriter who aides from recording and performing her own music, is also a session singer with some well known bands; Jhil Quinn, who fronts her own Rhythm and Roots Band and is the third generation in a family of singers and performers and Clara Rose, a well known blues, rock and folk performer who has recorded best selling albums of her own compositions. The show got its first public showing to a sell out crowd in Bray’s Mermaid Theatre on Saturday night.
Backing them is a line up of four of Ireland’s finest blues’ sidemen, Ed Deane on Guitar, James Delaney on keyboards, Garvan Gallagher on bass and Kevin Malone, drums, who, between them have played with Frankie Miller, Donovan, Dana Gillespie, Shane McGowan, Henry McCullough, Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison, Chuck Berry, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, The Fleadh Cowboys, Mary Black Band and Don Baker’s Blues Band, to name a few.
A show of two halves, it features towering solo performances of blues’ classics like ‘Natural Woman’, ‘Georgia On My Mind’, ‘I Put a Spell on You’, ‘Black Coffee’, ‘St James’ Infirmary’ and ‘Cry Me a River’, as well as composite numbers where all four singers brought their very distinct talents to the game, in attitude and harmonies.
Flo McSweeney is the classic blues ballad singer who gave us renditions of favourites by Billie Holliday and Julie London; the smouldering Emma Nicolai was an uncanny Nina Simone, Clara rose took the songs of Janis Joplin and Sister Rosetta Tharpe and owned them while Jhil Quinn mined the archives of the blues, reviving the pioneering songs of Mamie Smith, Memphis Minnie and other pioneers. In between, we got Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Ethel Walters and Aretha Franklin and a whole host of others as backdrop bios were lowered, backstage, reflecting the background and impact of these ladies in turning the blues from a dive bar entertainment to a new art form for theatres and concert halls.
I could see this show travelling. Don’t forget, you read it here, first.
Above Beach House
Phone 087 2917519
Tickets €22 - €25
Phone Box office (051) 874 402
In Person during opening hours
Box Office 01 231 2929
John Redmond St
Phone (021) 450 7487
John Redmond St
Phone (021) 450 7487
Box office 01 4627477
Phone: (056) 776 1674
Tickets €24 / €22
From Saturday night Juke Joints to Sunday moring Church, bringing the blues back home to Christ Church Bray, located on Church Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow. Doors open 7pm. Show 8pm
To purchase tickets you will be directed to www.thehotspot.ie - this is a secure site.
You can also purchase tickets in person from Christ Church Parish Hall, The Hot Spot Music Club in Greystones, Travel Boutique - Main St, Bray and Fleurtique on Florence Rd, Bray.
Please NOTE: Tickets are €22 - available either online or from various outlets. Concession tickets at €20 are available in person only, subject to eligibility.
The Blanchardstown Centre, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15
€25 / €23 conc / Early Bird: €21 (book before 05 April 2019)