Concert Review – Miranda Sykes

Review by Ben Macnair

The acclaimed singer and multi-instrumental Miranda Sykes cast a musical spell over an attentive audience when she appeared at Lichfield Guildhall as part of her Borrowed Places tour.

Best known as one third of Show of Hands with Phil Beer and Steve Knightley, over the years she has carved out a niche for herself, as a first call bassist and singer, and this tour showcased her songwriting with Borrowed Places being inspired by her childhood in Lincolnshire.

Miranda Sykes

Playing bass, guitar and ukulele, Miranda Sykes best sonic gift was her soaring vocal prowess, which was showcased in a number of acapella numbers. As well as her own songs, she also covered songs from writers such as Julie Matthews, Steve Knightley and Nancy Griffiths.

Although the set concentrated mainly on folk music and songs, there was also time for some fine jazz double bass playing, and a number of pieces that featured bowed double bass, and fleet fingered guitar playing.

Miranda Sykes

Songs played during the first half included Isabella Gunn, and the bass driven The Lily and the Rose, whilst a show stealing acapella I am Going To The West was delivered with a high level of assurance, whilst the Ukulele accompaniment to Forgotten Harvest showed both drive, and a lot of musical dexterity.

Miranda Sykes

Julie Matthews Are We Human? was a protest song with a lot of pointed questions, whilst the sing-along The Big Wheel and Don’t be a Stranger by Steve Knightley were both story songs that packed a punch. An encore of Time of Inconvenience by Nancy Griffiths was a political song with a strong bass propulsion, which showed Miranda Sykes talents of to good effect.

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