Chicago, capital of the blues, is the birthplace of Karen Underwood who now lives in Cork. Best known for her tributes to Nina Simone, she is a versatile singer, at home with jazz, blues, soul and show tunes. She recently appeared in the musical Hairspray, and can be heard regularly with a group called the Booty Band. Her powerful voice, warm personality and depth of feeling bring out the best in everything from jumping hard bop to poignant ballads.
On Wednesday night she will perform in the John Field Room with John O’Brien (piano) in Of Ladies Lost and Found, a celebration of a wide range of vocal stylists: Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Edith Piaf, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and, of course, Nina Simone. Not all of them could be called jazz singers, but they were all gifted artists who sang from the heart. John O’Brien, also based in Cork, is best known in the world of opera and musical theatre.
After Dublin, they will play the Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford, next Friday night as part of the Waterford Harvest Festival. On Saturday night they are in the Acoustic Club INEC in Killarney. Then two gigs: Friars’ Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, next Sunday, and Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick city, on Wednesday 17. The following Saturday finds them in the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny, and the tour ends on Sunday 21st in the Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork.