[Music – SA]
A Deal With God: The Songs of Kate Bush
Sat 2 Sep 2023
Shakespeare is credited with contributing a swag of new words to our language, and many new sayings. Kate Bush has her own ‘encyclopedia’ website, such is the complexity of her contribution to story-telling through music. While there may not be as many albums as other artists, you’ll find there a far greater number of songs, and covering hugely diverse subjects. This show is a fitting tribute to her work, presenting a collection from across four decades.
Siobhan Owen’s presence and powerful voice capture perfectly the lilting qualities of the playful melodies.
She wisely chose not to attempt matching the unique dancing that is part of a Kate Bush performance,
focusing only on the challenging vocal gymnastics – a four-octave range is not for the faint-hearted. From the ethereal and haunting to the stark and sensuous, the extensive repertoire is full of surprises, and always captivating. A written introduction for each song appeared briefly behind the band, followed by video images selected to complement them appropriately.
Kate Bush has been an inspiration to many, women especially finding she expresses what they are feeling.
She is the first female to have a number one hit in the UK, as well as other countries, and the first female to have an original song of hers take that position. She does not shy away from ‘taboo’ topics such as nuclear fallout, sexual assault and war – her song ‘Army Dreamer’ was banned by the USA along with those of others during their recent wars. Her three best known songs were of course included, ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ‘Babooshka,’ and ‘Running Up That Hill.’ The latter song has even seen a recent revival worldwide.
Siobhan Owen accompanied some songs on her harp, and she stepped aside to allow two other singers to
share the lead singing. Louise McCabe and Deborah Brennan both took over this role with poise and
precision, with their own interpretation and style. Louise was otherwise busy the whole time on the backing vocals, along with Denise Boyland and Debbie Tsagatos, while Deb Brennan’s keyboard accompaniments were consistently strong. She also took on the Joni Mitchell main role at this Musefest!
All the instrumentalists in the backing ensemble provided excellent support, with the ideal variety and depth for each song. Pearl Tizzie (bass) & Dylan Warren (drums) set up a subtle yet solid backbone, with Dylan Woolcock (guitars, mandolin, spoken word). Ingrid Homburg (violin) and Allye Sinclair (cello) were a stand-out string duo, combining and contrasting beautifully to underpin and enhance the strength of the song arrangements. A standing ovation and a reprise were a fitting ending to a fabulous performance.
Presented by Guilty Pleasures Shows, Court & Spark Productions and Inner Rhythm Productions.