DCSIMG

Michael Marra tribute takes place in Glasgow

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

The cream of the Scottish music scene have paid tribute to the late singer-songwriter Michael Marra, at a gala concert held in his honour.

Eddi Reader, Hue and Cry, Dougie Maclean and Kris Drever were among those who performed numbers from his vast back catalogue at the one-off show in Glasgow.

It had been one of the hottest tickets for this year’s Celtic Connections music festival, which Marra performed at several times in its 20-year history.

Marra’s death at the age of 60 after losing a battle with cancer had been revealed on the day of the festival’s launch in October. The tribute concert was organised within just a few weeks by one of his closest friends, fellow singer Rab Noakes.

Younger performers who took the stage included Marra’s children Alice and Matthew, who appeared with their band The Hazey Janes, jazz singer Sylvia Rae and Riley Briggs, frontman of the pop band Aberfeldy.

Among the classic songs performed were Hamish, Marra’s famous tribute to the celebrated Dundee United goalie, and Mother Glasgow, which ended up becoming an official anthem for the city.

Many of Marra’s contemporaries from the folk scene in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s performed, including former bandmate MacLean and Jimmie Macgregor, while national poet Liz Lochhead made a surprise appearance at the finale of the event.

Noakes appeared close to tears as he led a rendition of arguably Marra’s best-known song, Hermless, which ended the show and was greeted with a standing ovation.

Marra, renowned for his tales of the people and places he observed in his beloved Dundee, was born in the Lochee area of the city.

Although mainstream commercial success mainly eluded him, at the height of his career he toured with Deacon Blue, Van Morrison, Barbara Dickson and The Proclaimers.

Noakes told the audience that although Marra was renowned for celebrating ordinary characters, he was an “extraordinary man” himself.

 

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