It was with great sadness that I heard of the untimely death of Scottish singer/songwriter Michael Marra late Tuesday night. My feelings are echo’d by the tribute his family paid…..
” We are devastated by our sudden loss but are comforted by the kind words of so many people who loved Michael, his music and his spirit. His life’s work has told our family story and the story of his beloved Dundee. Michael’s songs are his legacy, given to Scotland by one wee boy from Lochee”
Michael Marra was brought up in the Lochee district of Dundee. His first public performance was at an NCR Christmas party in the 1950s Although predominantly known as a songwriter, Michael has worked extensively in theatre, radio and television. To most he was a solo performer touring the length and breadth of Britain, performing in arts centres, theatres, folk clubs and village halls. He had opened for such diverse performers as Van Morrison, The Proclaimers, Louden Wainwright III, Barbara Dickson and Deacon Blue.
In he had performed both in Washington DC and Melbourne, Australia in the show ‘In Flagrant Delicht’ which was devised in collaboration with poet and playwright Liz Lochhead. In theatre Michael had written original music and worked both as an actor and musical director. His own operetta ‘If The Moon Can Be Believed’ was performed at Dundee Rep to sell out audiences. He collaborated with Graham McLaren of Theatre Babel on a new production of ‘The Demon Barber’ for Perth Theatre having previously worked with him on Liz Lochead’s “Beauty and The Beast”. Michael had also recently performed original songs with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish National Orchestra, Concerto Caledonia, Mr McFall’s Chamber, and his own Quintet. He had dueted with Patti Smith, Eddi Reader, Karen Mathieson and Karine Polwart.
His songs have been covered by a wide range of artistes including Sylvia Rae Tracey, Coope Boyes and Simpson and Rab Noakes. Recorded Live on Tour with Mr McFall’s Chamber was released on Delphian Records. Michael’s most recent CD was released on Tob Records in March 2012. Titled “Houseroom”, it’s a 6 track collaboration with The Hazey Janes, one of Scotland’s finest contemporay bands.