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Ladies in the Blues


  • Friday 15 November 8:00pm

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€24/€22 Conc.

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Celebrate the power of women in the evolution of blues music, from the gospel roots of the 1920s through vaudeville & jazz up to 1960s blues-rock. Having received standing ovations throughout the country, this show takes you on a women’s journey, emphasising the importance of women such as Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and many more, in the progression of blues music. Four of Ireland’s finest female blues singers are accompanied by a crackin’ blues sideband.

Fronted live on stage by four of Ireland’s greatest female exponents of the blues, each with their own interpretation of the songs ranging from twelve bar acoustic blues to African American blues, Vaudeville to Jazz, and rhythm & blues to modern times. The singers are Clara Rose, Jhil Quinn, Anne Randolph and Emma Nicolai and the house band comprises James Delaney [keyboards] Eoghan O Neill [Bass], Ed Dean [Guitar], Kevin Malone [Drums].

Ladies in the Blues’ journey began in 2015 as a pub gig and has since premiered to SOLD-OUT audiences in the Mermaid Arts Centre, Wicklow and received standing ovations in national theatres and jazz festivals all around the country. This year the show have been invited to perform at Glastonbury Festival on the acoustic stage.

Valentine’s day 1920 was an iconic moment in blue’s history when Mamie Smith stepped up to the microphone in The Okeh Company in New York and shouted out “That Thing Called Love”. This was the first recording of a black female vocalist! It led to a second recording which sold 75000 copies in its first month of release and although it wasn’t a classic blues recording it opened the door to a generation of ‘Classic Blues’ vocalists. Through that door came Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter and many more transforming the blues from local folk music into the art form it is today. These blues women brought black culture into the American main stream.

The all Irish cast includes singers – Clara Rose, Ireland’s songstress of rockin’ blues who has recently toured with the great Don Baker; Wicklow native, Emma Nicolai; Dun Laoghaire Queen of Vaudeville, Jhil Quin on washboard and vocals and singer songwriter, Anne Randolph. The show’s ‘house band’ comprises Ed Deane on guitar, James Delaney on keys, Eoghan O’Neill on bass and Kevin Malone on drums. This band, the cream of the Irish blues scene, have performed on world stages. The show has released two singles ‘Jelly Roll’ & ‘Misunderstood’ plus the album “Ladies In The Blues Live”

In ‘Ladies in the Blues’ we bring these pioneering women to life – singing such songs as CC Ryder, Black Coffee Blues, I Put a Spell on You, Bring it on Home to Me, Ball and Chain, Piece of My Heart, Feelin Good, I’d Rather Go Blind, Ain’t Nobody’s Business and many more.