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Monday, 14 May 2012

Theatre makes French connection with jazz and the Little Sparrow

There's a strong French flavour to the bill at Harrogate Theatre with two of its June shows.

Internationally renowned jazz singer Stacey Kent will be performing hits in both English and French from her album Raconte Moi on Sunday 3 June while Eve Loiseau brings a celebration of the life of the Little Sparrow, Édith Piaf on Wednesday 13 June.

New York's Blue Note artist Stacey Kent is big in France. Raconte-Moi, her eighth and most recent studio album, was recorded entirely in French and was one of the language’s biggest selling albums across the world in 2010.

Fans admire her trademark intimate and breathy vocals that bring the songs’ emotions to the fore and render them universally understood regardless of language. She's been described "as soothing as a candlelit bath" with her smooth jazz and her distinctive tones have bagged her several BBC Jazz Awards and a government decoration in recognition of her contribution to the arts from the French culture minister.

Kent cut her teeth in London’s Soho, regularly singing at the Café Boheme, before going onto open for established jazz acts at Ronnie Scott’s.

Eve Loisea's Piaf – The Songs, a celebration of the Little Sparrow sees her joined by Kneehigh Theatre's Fiona Barrow and Edward Jay on violin and accordion as the audience is transported to the world of 1940s-50s French cabaret where Piaf found fame and adoration.

Almost 50 years after her death, Piaf remains France’s most popular singer and one of its most renowned international stars. Her life was the stuff of legend: a meteoric rise from Paris street urchin to star of global fame.

It was, however, far from La Vie En Rose. Towards the end of her life, ravaged by pain and injury, the Little Sparrow, turned to drugs for comfort and solace, never able to believe that she was beloved by countless fans the world over.

Loiseau emphasises that her performance is a tribute to Piaf, rather than a tribute act, opting instead to capture the essence of the Little Sparrow's performances and imbuing them with her own passion rather than imitate Piaf.  The audience can expect her to take on the classics including La Vie En Rose, Autumn Leaves, Padam Padam and Non Je Be Regrette Rien.

Piaf died of liver cancer, aged 47 and far from her beloved Paris.  Her last – wise – words were, ‘Every damn fool thing you do in this life you pay for.’  Despite fame and fortune, the Little Sparrow struggled all her life and more than earned the love and respect of her international audience, which continues to adore her almost half a century on.

Further information including performance details is available at or from the box office on 01423 502116.

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