Singers Mary and Mae join forces at Horsham's Capitol to celebrate remarkable women in pop

First Ladies of Song sees Mary Carewe and Mae McKenna team up to celebrate the great female singer-songwriters, their most memorable songs and the stories behind them '“ on a concert tour which brings the duo to Horsham's Capitol on February 5.
Mary Carewe. Picture by Maurice FoxhallMary Carewe. Picture by Maurice Foxhall
Mary Carewe. Picture by Maurice Foxhall

The two have had great fun and difficulty making their choices.

Among performers and songs you might expect are: Carole King (‘You’ve Got A Friend’), Joni Mitchell (‘Big Yellow Taxi’), Joan Baez (‘Diamonds and Rust’), Carly Simon (‘You’re So Vain’), Annie Lennox (‘Sweet Dreams’) and many more.

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“The show has been a little while in the offing,” Mary explains. “I have been singing for a long time – a lot of fabulous concerts – but one of the things I was thinking about was that it would be interesting to look at the way women in pop music have changed their role over the past 50 years, particularly looking at the female singer-songwriters. I just thought it would be interesting to angle it on the women singer-songwriters, without being preachy or anything.”

Mary continues: “First of all, we just had to think who these singer-songwriters are, the people that people love and associate with, and then you have got to try to think which songs. You have got Dolly Parton and Kate Bush, but which songs do you do? Given that we were rearranging the songs for our particular forces, we didn’t want to end up doing like a Kate Bush sound-alike or a karaoke, and in fact, that’s the thing about a great song. The thing about a great song is that it can be interpreted in a lot of different ways.”

In a way it’s all an extension of a show Mary has done in which she sings the great James Bond theme tunes. There’s a similar approach now, except of course, she’s now with Mae.

“The great thing about Mae is that she and I are completely different. She is more from folk music, but singing together, we have found one of the great features of the show is that even though we are two singers with very strong styles of our own, when we put our voices together, they blend very well. Doing the right material, our voices sound particularly beautiful, and sometimes it is hard to tell who is doing the harmony and who is doing the tune.”

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Mary has performed as a soloist with ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at venues including the Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Along with numerous appearances on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night, she has recorded many CDs of film, musical theatre and pop songs for a variety of record labels, as well as releasing two solo discs.

A singer-songwriter with six solo albums, Mae has also featured as a soloist on many hit records and film scores. Her vocal contributions include thousands of studio tracks by the likes of Annie Lennox, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Kylie Minogue, Manic Street Preachers, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, ABC, Ronan Keating, Blur and Sting.

Tickets are £19.50. Call the box office on 01403 750220.

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