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An Evening with the Incomparable Magdalena Darby

PRESS RELEASE 11 May 2000

An Evening with the Incomparable Magdalena Darby

Magdalena Darby, European song-stylist and torch singer, will appear in concert on June 24 at the Martinborough Town Hall, June 30 at the Ilott Concert Chamber in Wellington, and on July 1 at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, to celebrate the launching of her new CD.

This vibrant new show about romance and passion, An Evening with the Incomparable Magdalena Darby, includes many songs from the torch song genre in both English and French. Torch singing comes from the expression “to carry a torch” for someone, and originated in the period of glamour and brutality associated with prohibition America. The style is perhaps best known today from Harvey Fierstein’s stage play Torch Song Trilogy. Torch songs express emotions and tell a story, mostly about broken love affairs or just the longing for the perfect match.

Magdalena Darby’s ever renewing repertoire is based on styles introduced by singers such as Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, and Marlene Dietrich. With her voice and strikingly elegant stage presentation, she easily captures her audience with her soul-baring performance. “I call torch the ‘opera of jazz’, because torch has its roots in the jazz era, and like opera, is very dramatic with the music emphasising the emotions, rather than following a predictable beat.” The musicians in this show, pianist Gary Wilby and double bass player Alistair McLeod, are sympathetic to the idea that the music should not interrupt the flow of thought. McLeod says: “When listening to these haunting melodies don’t expect a foot-tapping beat, but be prepared for a soul-touching treat!”

“On the CD My Sin, I enjoyed the challenge of being true to torch, and conveying all the thoughts, emotions, and beautiful melodies with only my voice. At times I had to let my singing voice become intentionally vulnerable.

At other times I felt that the lyrics needed no more than a whisper.” In the studio, Darby was fortunate to be assisted brilliantly and sensitively by Wellington-born pianist Ian Logan and double bass player Alistair McLeod. Darby and Logan performed in London early last year, and he came back especially for the recording. They presented The Man That Got Away in Wellington in 1994 and Something Cool in 1998, as well as performing in other festivals.
Tickets are available from Music Options, Lower Hutt, and Ticketek in Wellington and Lower Hutt (04-384-3840). Further information is available at www.torchsinger.co.nz.

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