his December opera singer Caitlin Downie is bringing her Celtic chrimbo choonage to our humble east London shores. Playing in Leytonstone’s especially lovely Theatre of Wine and then five days later in Forest Gate’s totally awesome Tracks, the intimate musical experience promises to bring carols ‘passed down the generations, sung in an authentic way.’ Nice.
Having both Irish and Scottish heritage, Downie looks to celebrate her Celtic roots though her performances. She plays well-known festive carols with their original sound and using instruments used in years past including the bouzouki, bodhran, low whistle and Uilleann pipes – yes we had to google them too.
“There’s so much history and legacy in these songs because they’ve been with us for generations… you can’t help but love them,” she says. Indeed, musicality seems to run through her bloodline: her grandmother, Marion Studholme, was a stalwart of Sadler’s Wells Opera and a regular on television and radio during the 1950s. As was her husband, Andrew Downie, a successful director, singer and actor.
Downie’s band includes Tad Sargent (who has performed with Joglaresa, Kate Rusby and at The Globe Theatre), Dominic Henderson (from Teyr), and Jonathan Pease (composer, conductor and runs the East London Evensong Choir).
If you ask us, this sounds like a dreamy evening of yuletide song, that’ll (hopefully) leave you brimming with ruddy-faced cheer.
Main image: Caitlin Downie