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Review: Miranda Sykes at the Lichfield Guildhall

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.

Miranda Sykes

Miranda Sykes

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.

Playing bass, guitar and ukulele, Miranda’s 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 numbers 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.

Songs played during the first half included Isabella Gunn and the bass driven The Lily and the Rose, while a show stealing acapella version of I Am Going To The West was delivered with a high level of assurance.

The ukulele accompaniment to Forgotten Harvest showed both drive and a lot of musical dexterity.

Julie Matthews’ Are We Human? was a protest song with a lot of pointed questions, while 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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