A night of operatic jazz in aid of Tony The Dogfather's 'pets'
Time Out Bahrain staff
Please tell us a bit about your musical background? Music was always part of family life; my mother was (and still is) a beautiful singer ... we sang in the kitchen, in the bath, in the car. I’m just eternally grateful my mother had the greater influence in my life; my father sings like a fog-horn ... and does so with gusto (which is why my daughter only ever invited him to one Christmas concert at primary school!).
You’re a trained opera singer but you’ll be treating us to a night of jazz this time – what made you go for such a change of direction? More than training, I think a love and passion for words set to music makes someone a singer. I was blessed to have an absolutely wonderful singing teacher (Margaret Duckworth) who, well into her 70s had the sweetest voice. But her philosophy was to free up and find the natural voice - and once we are comfortable with who we are and the ‘noise’ we make we can sing pretty much anything that feels natural. Jazz has always felt natural - it may seem as if the voice is singing in a different style - but whether singing jazz or opera, the secret is to be open and free - and love what you do and be happy to just do it!
Are Ella, Earth and Edith particular favourites? Oh - I have so many favourites! Ella Fitzgerald had this incredible range - with high notes that can break a glass, and low notes that seem impossibly low! Eartha Kitt was funny, sexy, raunchy and risqué ... and I do love to have fun when I sing. And Edith Piaff ... well, she sang with such passion, such conviction. But I also love singers like Billie Holliday, Diana Krall ... the list is endless!
What made you decide to do this in aid of Tony the Dogfather? Tony cares passionately about his animals. I love the fact that they are kept in humane, social groups where they are allowed to interact naturally with each other as they would in their natural habitat. While many people ‘tut-tut’ and judge the behaviours of those who do things wrong - Tony’s out there trying to put right the mistakes of people for the creatures who are harmed by those of us who are less in touch with our humanity than we might be under ideal circumstances. He’s not afraid to be the loving person he would like us all to be - and that comes at a high cost. Both emotionally and financially. He brings kindness and compassion to this region. Not just to the animals; through his work he inspires us all to be better people.
What can the audience expect at the November 8 event? A wonderful evening inspired by the desire of Tony the Dogfather and his supporters in a wonderful venue thanks to George Cherian and his excellent team at Upstairs Downstairs ... and my mother and sister are coming out from the UK so they’ll be there too!
Anything else to add? I’m really looking forward to the event, and to working with two wonderful pianists: Gavin Stewart who is new to Bahrain, and Katrina Ladwig (formerly pianist with the Manama Singers) who has accompanied me before and is flying in from Al Aine specially for the event.