Michael Marra was one of Scotland's most prolific songwriters, and a much loved & respected figure in the entertainment business. He died in October 2012 and is sadly missed by his family, many musical collaborators and friends. Michael's family paid tribute to him in a statement saying " 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 was keen to bring the El Sistema Orchestra Project for disadvantaged children to Dundee. His family have established a Trust Fund called " Optimistic Sound - A Michael Marra Memorial Music Trust for the Young People of Dundee" with Blackadders. Solicitors in Dundee to help facilitate this project. More information on Optimistic Sound can be found on their website.
You can also keep up to date with news of events, releases and anything else which preserves and celebrates Michael's legacy on an official Facebook page managed by the Marra family.
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 2006 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 also provided the narration on Christine Hanson's CD featuring her original music set against Robert Service's epic poem The Cremation Of Sam MacGee. He also 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.
In 2007 Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Dundee University in recognition of his contribution to the cultural profile of his home town and in 2011 he was made an Honarary Doctor of Letters by Glasgow Caledonia University. He also won a prestigious Herald Angel Award in 2010 for his performance at The Acoustic Music Centre during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
His play St Catherines Day played to enthusiastic audiences at both Oran Mor in Glasgow and Dundee Repertory Theatre. An exhibition of his unique portraiture prints was shown at The Bank Street Gallery. He had collobarated with award winning choreographer Frank McConnell and his Dance Company, Plan B on Parallel|Parallels and A Wee Home From Home.
His songs have been covered by a wide range of artistes including Sylvia Rae Tracey, Coope Boyes and Simpson,Rab Noakes, Eddi Reader, June Tabor, Martin and Eliza Carthy and Loudon Wainwright.
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.
A sellout tribute concert was staged at Celtic Connections in January 2013. All Will Be Well - The Life and Songs of Michael Marra featuring Rab Noakes, Dougie Maclean, Eddi Reader, Pat and Gregory Kane, Kris Drever, Riley Briggs, John Spillane, Tom Mitchell, Rod Paterson, The Mackenzie Sisters, Christopher Marra and The Hazey Janes.
Sunday July 15 2012, 1:00 AM
Sad news with the recent announcement of the deaths of Angus Foy and Dougie Martin. Both were well known on the Dundee music scene and were friends and an inspiration to many musicians. Angus Foy was a founder member of Hens Teeth,...
Friday March 2 2012, 12:00 AM
A new video courtesy of Lowell Akerman featuring Michael Marra and The Hazey Janes singing "Underwood Lane" from the new EP " Houseroom". The song is dedicated to the great John Byrne. Enjoy
Thursday March 1 2012, 12:00 AM
Michael is Bruce MacGregor's guest on BBC Radio Scotland's Travelling Folk on Thursday 01 March 2012 at 0800pm. He will talking about his career to date and the recent collobaration with The Hazey Janes on the new EP " Houseroom" due to be...
Friday February 24 2012, 12:00 AM
Video footage of the wonderful Coope Boyes and Simpson singing Michael Marra's song "Silence" from BBC Alba recording in Glasgow. The song appears on Coope Boyes and Simpson's album " As If".
Tuesday January 24 2012, 12:00 AM
Michael Marra has been in the studio at An Tobar on Mull the past few days recording new and previously unreleased material. He had Dundee band The Hazey Janes with him for company and by all accounts they had a very productive four days...
Monday February 13 2012, 12:00 AM
'Houseroom ' - a six track collaborative album from Michael Marra and one of the Scotland's finest young contemporary bands The Hazey Janes will be released on March 19th through Tob Records. Michael will also be heading out on a West coast...
Thursday December 8 2011, 12:00 AM
The Hooverville Brothers do their faux hillbilly tribute to the late Gil Scott Heron with his song Whitey On The Moon. The Hooverville Brothers are Kevin Murray, Christopher Marra and Michael Marra
Tuesday December 6 2011, 12:00 AM
Michael Marra was asked to sit as the subject for a recent 3 day masterclass given by Scottish artist Calum Colvin titled Portraits for the Future as part of V&A at Dundee series of events.. The final portrait can be is on view at The...
Saturday October 8 2011, 1:00 AM
The new album from Dave Formula and Christine Hanson features contributions from Michael Marra amongst others. The album is due for release on 17 October 2011 on Off Records for more information visit their website You can...
Sunday October 2 2011, 1:00 AM
The Fiddle Tree at Inver near Dunkeld in Perthshire where Niel Gow was inspired to write many of his wonderful fiddle tunes. The bench at the base of the tree is inscribed with the lyrics of Michael Marra's "Niel Gow's Apprentice"...
Thursday May 26 2011, 1:00 AM
Michael Marra is Barbara Dickson's guest on Thursday 26 May 2011 on the first programme of her new series of Scotland in Tune on BBC Radio Scotland starting at 08.05pm. Programme is repeated on Saturday 28 May 2011 at 10.05pm and is available...
Tuesday December 6 2011, 12:00 AM
A new video of Michael Marra's song "I Love The Alphabet" sung by his daughter Alice with assistance from brother Christopher. The song was written for Alice after she mastered the really useful skill of reciting the alphabet backwards....
Tuesday February 14 2012, 12:00 AM
Artwork by Claire Brennan 'Houseroom' - a new six track collaborative album from Michael Marra with one of Scotland's finest contemporary bands The Hazey Janes will be released on March 19th through Tob Records. Michael Marra also...