Monday, 29 October 2012

Music lives on

 Out walking last week

Getting on with this and that last week I was shocked and upset to see a headline on a local paper in our corner shop that shouted out just three words: "Michael Marra dies". Some of you may not know Marra - he was a very local hero in some ways (born in Dundee, died in Dundee) - but he was an absolutely brilliant singer, songwriter, musician and entertainer. I have written about him on blogs before and even once wrote a poem celebrating his genius (that's here). I saw him perform live 3 or 4 times (even got to introduce him at a benefit gig in Dundee once) and he was really a cut above most performers (and songwriters). He was only 60 when he died and there are a host of tributes in online newspapers (a good one in Dundee's Courier here, for example). He had so many good and varied songs that it's hard to know which one to pick to post here but this video gives you a taste of what his live shows were like (some of you outside Scotland may not get all the vocabulary but I'm sure you'll get the drift...).

Good-bye Michael Marra and thanks for sharing your talent with the rest of us. We really appreciated it.


Rachel Fenton said...

"wheelbarrow off Kilimanjaro" - brilliant. Sad he wasn't more widely known.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes... but I think that was in some part his choice. He did go to London when he was younger and worked as a songwriter for a while but from what I got from a radio interview with him on Scottish BBC a while back he just didn't want to work like that - he wanted to do his own thing in his own way. And though he wasn't widely known outside this area he was hugely popular round here - very busy, always working (he was a visual artist too though I've not seen his work in that field). Also he had a family (his kids have a band called the Hazey Janes) and he was involved with all sorts of community arts and music projects. He chose his place in the world really I think.

And when you read what it takes to be more widely known... I was reading an epic profile of Bruce Springsteen the other day... here

well, that just isn't for everybody.


Dick said...

Another Scottish secret too well kept. It's amazing just how much of the very best English music comes from Scotland!

Rachel Fox said...

I'm trying to think of an English musician/performer who might stand alongside Marra... who writes in that vein, performs in that way... no-one jumps to mind. He was often compared to American Randy Newman and certainly that rings fairly true. He made songwriting sound easy, did lovely things with a piano. I don't think Newman rests his keyboard on an ironing board though (a Marra signature move!).