Friday, 26 October 2012

Michael Marra.....see you up the road big man.....

It was with great sadness that I heard of the untimely death of Scottish singer/songwriter Michael Marra .  My feelings are echo'd by the tribute his family paid..... 

" We are devastated by our sudden loss but are comforted by the kind words of so many people who loved Michael, his music and his spirit. His life's work has told our family story and the story of his beloved Dundee. Michael's songs are his legacy, given to Scotland by one wee boy from Lochee"  

A concert to raise funds for Dundee’s appeal to set up a Sistema Scotland orchestra in the city led by Michael Marra's family sold out.

The campaign to establish a Sistema orchestra in Dundee is being led by the family of Michael Marra, one of Scotland’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters, who died in Dundee in December, aged 60, after a long battle against cancer.

The fund raising concert at Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre Gallery on Friday, 5 April, will feature performances from Riley Briggs, The Filter Tips (featuring Alice Marra), and Christopher Marra.

Clare Brennan, curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University, said: “We’re delighted this event has sold out so quickly – it shows the huge support there is to set up a Sistema Scotland orchestra in Dundee.
“The project is genuinely inspirational, and we’re hoping our event can really help to support the campaign”

Michael Marra was brought up in the Lochee district of Dundee. His first public performance was at an NCR Christmas party in the 1950s Although predominantly known as a songwriter, Michael has worked extensively in theatre, radio and television. To most he was a solo performer touring the length and breadth of Britain, performing in arts centres, theatres, folk clubs and village halls. He had opened for such diverse performers as Van Morrison, The Proclaimers, Louden Wainwright III, Barbara Dickson and Deacon Blue.

Liz LochheadIn he had performed both in Washington DC and Melbourne, Australia in the show 'In Flagrant Delicht' which was devised in collaboration with poet and playwright Liz Lochhead. In theatre Michael had written original music and worked both as an actor and musical director. His own operetta 'If The Moon Can Be Believed' was performed at Dundee Rep to sell out audiences. He collaborated with Graham McLaren of Theatre Babel on a new production of 'The Demon Barber' for Perth Theatre having previously worked with him on Liz Lochead's "Beauty and The Beast". Michael had also recently performed original songs with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish National Orchestra, Concerto Caledonia, Mr McFall's Chamber, and his own Quintet. He had dueted with Patti Smith, Eddi Reader, Karen Mathieson and Karine Polwart.

In 2007 Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Dundee University in recognition of his contribution to the cultural profile of his home town and in 2011 he was made an Honarary Doctor of Letters by Glasgow Caledonia University. He also won a  prestigious Herald Angel Award in 2010 for his performance at The Acoustic Music Centre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

His play St Catherines Day played to enthusiastic audiences at both Oran Mor in Glasgow and Dundee Repertory Theatre. An exhibition of his unique portraiture prints was shown at The Bank Street Gallery. He had collobarated with award winning choreographer Frank McConnell and his Dance Company, Plan B on Parallel|Parallels and A Wee Home From Home.

His songs have been covered by a wide range of artistes including Sylvia Rae Tracey, Coope Boyes and Simpson and Rab Noakes.

Recorded Live on Tour with Mr McFall's Chamber was released on  Delphian Records. 
Michael's most recent CD was released on Tob Records in March 2012. Titled "Houseroom", it's a 6 track collaboration with The Hazey Janes, one of Scotland's finest contemporay bands.

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