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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Beyond the Beehive at The MC Showroom - 60 minutes

She was one of the great singer songwriters of her generation whose life was so tragically cut short.


Amy Winehouse (14th September, 1983 – 23rd July, 2011) will, therefore, be forever young.


Much has been written and said about her substance abuse and addictive personality, but in Beyond the Beehive, Carol Whitfield does not focus on that.

Rather, she waxes eloquently about Winehouse’s great gift as a rare and diverse musical talent, who created her own style and ran with it.


Carol’s hour-long show, featuring a dozen numbers, provides insights into the English songstress and her development as an artist.


Sporting a dark beehive and black eyeliner – famously worn by Winehouse to emulate the 60s girl groups, like The Ronettes – Whitfield goes back to where it all began for Amy.


She speaks of Winehouse’s love of Ray Charles, of jazz, gospel and Motown.


While her biggest influence, fed by her parents, was jazz, during her all too short career, she embraced everything from soul, blues and hip hop, to pop and funk.


From an early age, industry heavyweights recognised that Amy had an “X” factor.


Carol outlines what distinguished the woman with a “take no prisoners” attitude from other performers.


Beyond the Beehive is a narrative concert, during which – between songs – Whitfield talks about Amy’s music and motivation.


Winehouse named her first album Frank after Frank Sinatra and because she was always brutally honest … and on it goes.


In many ways, she was an old soul in a young body.


Carol performs several numbers from Winehouse’s Back to Black and Frank albums. Think Rehab and Back to Black, for starters.


In addition, there are covers to songs such as The Girl from Ipanema and Valerie.


Winehouse was nothing if not authentic. She was never one to shy away from expressing her strong opinions.


To illustrate that, at one point Whitfield – adopting a faux Cockney accent – shares several noteworthy Winehouse quotes.


Carol Whitfield has an easy-going warmth and charm about her.


Blessed with a sultry and lyrical voice, she effortless channels Amy’s throaty jazz vocals.

She is accompanied by an accomplished four-piece band, featuring musical director Ryland Sack on keys and the stirring sax sound of Lucy Varley.


With Rachel Reyes on drums, bass guitarist Christine Rathjens entertains with an infectious smile and unbridled enthusiasm.


Carol’s joyful humour is also on show, as she injects personality into the Winehouse showcase.


She tears up speaking about just how much Amy meant to her, as her passion for and adoration of Winehouse are never in doubt.


Beyond the Beehive shines a spotlight on what the world lost with the passing of a musical genius.


To follow Carol Whitfield and to see where she is next performing, go to www.facebook.com/carolwhitfieldperformer


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