Martha Wainwright Sings Edith Piaf reviewed by Heather Welsh

[Photo stolen from the Vancouver Sun, no copyright infringement intended.]

Martha Wainwright Sings Edith Piaf- The Centre For Performing Arts In Vancouver June 26th 2010

by Heather Welsh

This was my first time in the Centre, and I thought it was really rather nice. Great acoustics, so even being sat upstairs in the peasant seats I caught every note coming from the beautiful grand piano.

Jose James and Jef Neve opened the show, James told us he was recently signed to the famous Impulse Records but it was Neve who grabbed my attention. Maybe I appreciated him more because of the hours spent sat at my own piano before school.

After people-watching in the interlude, the seductive Martha took to the stage with 3 instrumentalists, a very tight black dress and some huge sparkly dorothy-style heels! It wasn’t until later when she introduced her band that we learnt the pianist was in fact Doveman a.k.a Thomas Barlett who is like, the best touring pianist ever. He’s toured with The National and The Swell Season, as if you need any more persuading he is a good egg.

Anyway, back to Martha… She was a delight, mimicking Piaf’s famous dramatics as well as dress, and yet still made the songs feel her own. She sang Piaf so well in fact, that during her vocals I almost forgot she isn’t French. Between songs she chatted away like she was performing for a few old friends. She revealed they had just been to Tojo’s and were sharing around a bottle of sake with them on stage. I think they had spent a liiittle bit too much there, Martha asked us to buy her album as a result! By the end of the set, she had paid tribute to her late mother as well, singing one of her English-language songs that had been translated to French.

I would have liked to have heard some of her classics too, but hey I can do that in the future, last night I got to see a little slice of history in Martha’s passionate tribute to one of France’s most celebrated artists.

Heather Welsh is from England, which is in Europe somewhere.

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