Musical legend Anita O’Day is celebrated this summer by sultry, soulful California-based Irish singer Melanie O'Reilly.
Multi-award -winning Melanie captures Anita’s often-troubled spirit, giving the music an added emotional kick. Her riveting performance brings new life to the legendary jazz vocalist, who shattered the traditional image of the 'girl singer' with her smoky swinging style and brilliant sense of rhythm.
While Melanie was in Los Angeles in 2005 researching for her radio show, Jazz on the Bay, she met Hollywood scriptwriter Paul Peterson, one of Anita O'Day's closest friends. He was writing a show about Anita’s life and music and when he met Melanie, he exclaimed “I've found my Anita O'Day!” Sadly, two years later both Anita and Paul passed away within six months of each other. Four years later in 2011, Melanie decided to continue Paul’s work and created Jazz on a Summer’s Day: A Tribute to Anita O’Day.
Anita was captured in the iconic 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, where she commanded the band and audience with an authority rarely seen in women of her day. The legendary jazz vocalist is given new life by Melanie's riveting performance, gorgeous sound and breath-taking, emotional intensity.
Since bursting onto the international scene as one of jazz’s most daring innovators, Melanie O’Reilly has been touring extensively in Europe and America. She comes to Edinburgh this summer to pay tribute to one of her earliest and most primal inspirations.
Catch Melanie and her show at the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 16-21 August at the fantastic Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Note to Editors
Melanie O'Reilly Biography:
One of jazz’s most sensational international pioneers, Melanie is firmly established in the pantheon of creative Irish artists.. Born in Dublin, Melanie comes from a dynasty of musicians and actors, treading the boards from an early age as an actress and singer, she quickly became a multiple award-winning singer in Dublin’s Feis Ceol competitions.
Melanie had a precocious passion for jazz; by age 11, she was immersing herself in the rhythms and scat improvisations of Ella Fitzgerald as well as the music of other jazz giants such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. Closer to home, she discovered the Foxrock Folk Club, an oasis of local talent where she was introduced to Horslips, the Louis Stewart Trio and the Chieftains, while discovering the Sean-Nós recordings of Seán O Ríada.
After having studied dramatic performance at the Brendan Smith Theatre Academy Dublin, she finished with a Bachelor of Arts from University College Dublin. She then began her career as a professional musician, quickly building a reputation for herself as one of the rising stars of the international jazz firmament. It was in this early period of her career that Melanie began experimenting with the fusion of contemporary jazz with traditional Irish music. This new brand of Celtic jazz has become not only the trademark of Melanie’s style and career, but also has pushed the boundaries of jazz and launched her into a realm of her own.
Melanie tours extensively throughout the USA, Ireland, Scotland, England, France and other parts of Europe. Venues of note include New York’s Lincoln Center, and the Cooper Union, the London Barbican, the Lorient Festival Inter-Celtique in Brittany, Musique d’Ici et D’Ailleurs in Chalons-en-Champagne, the Cork International Jazz Festival, Andernos Festival Internationale France, Freight and Salvage in California, Milwaukee Irish Festival, Chicago Heritage Center, Glasgow Concert Hall, and the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Arts Council of Ireland award for Jazz resulted in her album ‘Women who Left’, an original song cycle exploring 19th century Irish emigration to America.
The Rough Guide to Irish Music called Melanie’s work “Spellbinding…uplifting music from a true innovator;” while the Irish Times noted Melanie’s “breathtaking amazing emotional intensity… (and) sheer virtuosity.”
Quimper Celtic Radio award as Guest vocalist on the award winning ‘A Snail in my Prime’, composed by musician Michael Holohan and poet Paul Durcan.
PPI Award for her series on RTE Radio 1 – Jazz on the Bay
Albums of note:
Melanie's stunning Celtic jazz album ‘Oilean Draiochta’ (Enchanted Island) has contributions from jazz legend guitarist Larry Coryell and Irish traditional stars Tommy Hayes and Eileen Ivers. It also features songs that were the result of her collaboration with poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill.
‘House of the Dolphins’ nominated for Best Contemporary Album and Best Contemporary Female Artist by Irish Music magazine.
She also featured on ‘Lorient Festival Interceltique –Trente Ans/Thirty Years’, a compilation of the best of Lorient.
‘Women who Left’, is an original song cycle exploring 19th century Irish emigration to America.
And her double album “Dust and Blood” has earned praises such as “a gorgeous sound…Celtic cadence with a jazz sensibility.” (Contra Costa Times).
Melanie is a regular performer on the American radio networks and her albums feature regularly on air by KPFA, KCSM, KKUP in California as well as BBC radio and TV, RTE Radio 1, Radio na Gaeltachta, Lyric FM, and French radio and TV. In 2004 she entered the world of radio broadcasting, creating a show called ‘Jazz on the Bay’ for RTE Radio 1, Ireland's national broadcasting station, in which she interviews American jazz musicians, listening to their life stories, their inspirations as well as their music. It has continually been picked as Critics’ Choice in the Irish media, and her most recent series of ‘Jazz on the Bay’ recently won a PPI AWARD/National Radio Award for Music Specialist Program of the Year 2008.
Venue 150 @ EICC
150 Morrison Street
Edinburgh, EH3 8EE
Box office: 0844 847 1639
Phone: 0131 519 4150
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