Step Into My Parlour: Michelle Burke
Published by Jim Gilchrist
11 Aug 2014
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (music):
Step Into My Parlour: Michelle Burke at Summerhall (Venue 26). Review by Jim Gilchrist
Edinburgh-based Cork singer Michelle Burke launched her bizarrely homely Fringe soirées a couple of years back in the tiny basement of the Royal Oak Pub. She’s now moved into the comparatively palatial precincts of Summerhall’s main auditorium – and the amount of domestic bric-a-brac bedecking all surfaces not occupied by sherry glasses and biscuits has increased exponentially.
Then there’s the knitting, with audience members and even guitarist Jenn Butterworth purling like mad while Burke’s sister Laura assists with dispensing sherries and household tips drawn from their grandparents’ scrapbook (cure for ringworm? Just ask them).
Her excellent band has expanded too, with a core of Highland pianist James Ross, guitarist Butterworth and trombonist John Kenny joined by guests such as flautist and singer Cathal McConnell of the Boys of the Lough and button box player Julian Sutton.
Inspired by the sisters’ memories of childhood gatherings, the show is daft and heart-warming, but also brings the songs – a mixture of Irish vaudeville and traditional – back into their context as domestic entertainment.
Burke is a fine singer and after her opening jaunting-car romance of Eileen O’Grady, ranges through folk songs such as The Cobbler’s Daughter and a particularly lovely version of The Dark-Eyed Gypsy, as well as Tin Pan Alley’s Twilight Time and the contemporary Dublin Diner. There was a perky whistle break from McConnell, while Kenny’s trombone, fitting deftly into the folk line-up, came out with some spectacular interjections, not least during “Aunty Peggy’s party piece”.
As a show, it’s unique. Sing along, just don’t drop any stitches.
NEWS FROM THE ‘PARLOUR’
Guests joining us for our special CD launch shows at the Edinburgh Fringe include:
Saturday 9th – CATHAL MCCONNEL
Sunday 10th – JULIAN SUTTON + CATHAL MCCONNEL
Monday 11th – KATHLEEN MACINNES
Thursday 14th – HEIDI TALBOT
Friday 15th – WILL POUND
We also have a mighty house band joining us led by JAMES ROSS. John Kenny, Jen Butterworth and Innes White.
Tis just a few days till we start cracking open the sherry for ‘Step into my Parlour’ Summerhall Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of Made in Scotland!
You can get more info here: http://festival14.summerhall.co.uk/event/step-into-my-parlour-2/
Please note the shows on 9/10/11 August are at 8.20pm and 14 + 15 August are at 11pm.
take care, Michelle x
Hello from a very sunny Scotland.
I hope that you are all having a lovely summer.
I am delighted to tell you that I have made a new record called ‘Step into my Parlour’. We had a mighty time making this Album and were joined by some fantastic singers and musicians.
The record was produced by the wonderful Calum Malcolm and features: James Ross – piano, Cathal McConnell – vocals & flute, Anna Massie – guitar, madolin & banjo,
Martin O’ Neill – bodhran, Brendan Power – harmonica, John Kenny – trombone, Kathleen Boyle – accordion
Euan Burton – bass, Rhiannon Laffan- vocals, Maura O’ Connell – vocals, Heidi Talbot – vocals and The gang from home including me Daddy, Mammy, Sister, Cousins, Aunts and Uncles!!!
We are now getting all set for our Album Release shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Summerhall on the 9/10/11 August
8.20pm and 14th & 15th 11pm. These are part the Made in Scotland showcase.
Summerhall is a fantastic new Arts Hub in the heart of the city the former Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. Our first three shows are in the Main Hall and the last two shows in The Dissection Room !!!!!
We would love to see you at one of our album launch shows. The sherry will be flowing!
I am going to be joined by an array of very special guests. Keep an eye on my website to see who will be ‘Stepping into the Parlour’ each day. If you would like to join us for one of these special shows you can get more information here: http://festival14.summerhall.co.uk/?s=Step+into+my+Parlour&submit=Search
Bye for now.
Take care, Michelle x
Celtic Music Radio. Review: Step into my Parlour featuring Michelle Burke, Tron Theatre, Tuesday 28th January 2014
This concert at The Tron Theatre, just off the Trongate, Glasgow, proved that I should not make claims about my gig of the festival too early. Having attended ‘Far, Far from the Ypres’ on Celtic Connections second day, I have been telling everyone that nothing else would equalise it. Boy was I wrong!
On entering the Tron Theatre, the audience were given the opportunity to study the stage which was laid out as the kind of parlour reminiscent of those of yesteryear.
A carpet, occasional tables, old paintings, table cloths, candle, and, to play on important part, glasses and sherry.
When County Cork colleen, Michelle Burke, a very talented lady with a magnificent voice, appeared on stage, she picked up her knitting and got a member of the audience to continue it during the gig.
Already she had set the mood of music and Irish blarney which would be the ongoing style of the concert.
Having poured a wee glass of sherry, she introduced James Ross on the piano, and sang a song of potential courting and a jaunting car.
The idea for concert was inspired whe her sister had moved into her grandmother’s house and, while rifling through the attic, had found old documants and newspaper clippings collected by her great grandmother.
Next on stage was our own Anna Massie on guitar and mandolin and bodrhan player Martin O’Neil. Michelle’s grandfather had been a cobbler and ‘A kiss In The Morning Early’ followed before Michelle decided to give some of the old household tips which used to appear in an Irish Times supplement. Improving busts, treating ringworm and how to use a bar of soap to cure overnight jumpy legs were humourously covered.
Michelle’s sister’ Catherine joined on the accordion and Michelle’s beautiful voice sang again of cruel wars and husbands being imprisoned. John Kenny on trombone joined for ‘Bill O’. Soon the stage became even busier with a coulple of songs from John Spillane. Michelle gave the tale of her confirmation present, a calf, from her father before he himself appeared for some Tom Paxton and Hank Williams.
The interval passed with a real buzz in the audience about how great the gig was. Cathal McConnell was introduced, and, if anyone thought that the Irish gift o’ the gab had been flowing already, he was the grand master.
A song of lovely lassies was followed by the tale of Dan O’Hare, an Irishman who fled to America to die penniless. Flute and whistle tunes followed before John Spillane returned for a couple more numbers.
Then Michelle returned with a song of two potential lovers who whooped and died, the woman going to heaven and the man, the other place. Gypsy Lady followed with Cathal McConnell before the last number and a standing ovation, so richly deserved.
Michelle Burke and John Spillane came back on stage for a great song about The Lobby Bar before the entire ensemble for ‘The Parting Glass’, a different song from the one many of us will know.
This was a simple concept executed with sublime excellence.