Morris at Blue Note in Milan
by Eva Simontacchi
(English translation by Roberto Campora)
Evening of 8th November 2003 -
Set at 21:00
Eva Simontacchi and
Sarah Jane Morris
All sold out tonight at
Blue Note for the concert of Sarah Jane Morris, an artist well-known in Italy thanks to her long-time presence in our country due to her artistic profession (including a victory at the festival of Sanremo with
Riccardo Cocciante). An artist who over the years has greatly expanded her professional repertoire and is famous for her remake of the Thelma Houston hit "Don't leave me this way". She has gone from the pop of Communards to the repertoire of Brecht and Weill with the
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, from Jazz to writer songs. The collaboration with the New York guitarist
Marc Ribot plays an important role in her artistic
journey. Tonight she is here to introduce her new album "Love and Pain".
Her first album, "Sarah Jane Morris", is dated back to 1989 and it was soon a great success. "Love and Pain" is her sixth album.
From her first album she has been a writer and co-writer of the songs she
The lights go down in the room and the hum of the crowded audience stops. Neil MacColl and Kevin Amstrong on guitar appear, followed by the flame-haired Sarah Jane Morris dressed head to toe in black
She welcomes the audience in Italian and we soon hear her deep voice which, without being accompanied by the musicians, fills up the room. Then the guitarists
MacColl and Armstrong (who during the night also performed as
back-up vocalists) enter to play "Into My Arms" from her album "August". In front of us we have a very expressive interpreter who transmits emotions and feelings with a voice that she can mould the way she pleases.
Henry Thomas on bass and Roy Dodds on percussion join the group so that we can listen to "Move On Up", followed by "Fragile" (from her last album "I Am A Woman"), which she dedicates to all of us in the audience. At the end of this song she lets us know that most of the songs tonight are taken from the album recorded with the American guitarist Marc Ribot. She also explains that the following songs are from her latest album "Love And Pain", twelve tracks that explore and
celebrate the contradictions of being a woman. She says she believes these
contradictions must be celebrated: There is no answer, just more
"Blind old friends" is the next song that she sings and acts on the stage, with her versatile voice going from disappointment to anger, from irony to sweetness. She "talks" to the audience watching us with her very clear and bright eyes, which remind us of a fairy's in a forest.
Her face is
extremely mobile and her expressions change according to the emotion that she
wants to convey.
introduces "It's Jesus I Love", in which the
female contradictions are clearly expressed with irony and provocation. Lots of
religious and spiritual references in these last two tracks. Great clapping for
her and her musicians during instrumental moments.
She explains to us that the next song has been written for (and is dedicated to) a dear friend of hers, a fabulous English actress with whom she attended drama school, who was on her way to having a promising career in film industry. At a certain point she couldn't bear her own life and its disappointments, so she chose another way out: she decided to end her life... Sarah Jane ends up saying: "This is a song to celebrate her short life, which also expresses the frustration of those who have been left behind...".
song is "Fields Of Wheat", another track from her album "Love And Pain". Extremely intense,
the touching interpretation of this song reveals a very intimate side to her
Then we listen to "In The Arms Of An
Angel" and on a background of guitars she tells us
that she believes in the kind of angel that is present here on earth and that
she likes to think she might be an angel for someone else...
Then she proposes an acoustic version of a single released in Europe in 1992 recorded with Virgin Records. She explains that after coming out with this cover,
Barry White sent her a fax saying that the
version of this very famous hit song had been the most interesting he had ever
heard. Unfortunately a few months ago Barry White passed way... Before starting
to sing "Never Gonna Give You Up" she dedicates it to Barry White.
The last track
of the evening is "Piece Of My Heart", from her album "August". A burst of endless clapping and acclamations from the audience. Sarah Jane thanks the audience in Milan and with musicians
Neil MacColl, Kevin Armstrong, Henry Thomas and Roy Dodds
leaves the stage of the
Blue Note, to come back again in a while, called back by the incessant requests for an "encore". With her band she performs "I Don't Wanna Know About Evil" (taken from the album "Fallen Angel") and "Up From The Skies" (from the album "Blue Valentine").
For those who want to buy her CDs, it is possible to buy on-line checking her site:
extremely versatile and generous with the audience, not only on the stage, but
even during her break between one set and the other. She offers her period of
rest to all those who wish to have an autograph with a dedication on her CDs
(that she signs to all with a kiss with red lipstick inside the cover) and
spends some time having a chat with everyone. Her face is open and smiling, she
is very available and talkative, her eyes exceptionally warm and expressive.
Well done Sarah Jane, we expect to have you soon back in Milan!
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