Sometimes when I hear an Amy Winehouse song I relive the shock all over again that she is dead. It is such a tragedy that she went way too young. Such a bright talent and it is a shame that there won’t be any more music coming out from her. When Amy Winhouse sang she let you into who she really was. This short documentary film allows you to see the singer while she was still in good shape and a musical treasure.
In December 2006 in a tiny church in Dingle, Ireland Amy performed a scintillating 20 minute set for the acclaimed television show Other Voices. Dingle is on the southwest coast of Ireland in County Kerry. It is not easy to get there. You have to make a commitment to get there. Once you get familiar with Dingle and you can visualize it in your mind you realize that it was the perfect place for Amy to play. Dingle is on the edge of Ireland and Amy lived her life on the edge.
Other Voices was not a planned series. It just happened and has become very exclusive. The artists who have appeared on it include Snow Patrol, Ellie Goulding, Sinead O’Connor, Florence and the Machine, and Rufus Wainwright.
The Anglican church called St. James’s was the location of Other Voices. The church is tiny allowing only maybe 80 people to take in the concerts. Parishioner Steve Coulter noticed that the church was only being used one day a week. He started putting on folk concerts that helped earning money for the church. It is hard to keep a church running in such a small town. The folk concerts evolved into Other Voices. It is such a small venue that it is a very different experience for the artists.
On the stormy winter night in the packed venue Amy, simply clad in white trainers, black jeans, a black camisole and her trademark dark beehive, wowed the crowd with an acoustic set of six songs. She was accompanied by a guitarist and bassist. All the songs were from her album Back to Black. Each Any Winehouse performance is unique as she could sing the same song over and over, but she would do it differently every time. Listening to the songs you realize that there is a tinge of sadness in each like she never found resolution. Bottom line is that she sang her heart out.
After performing the short set she left the stage and was interviewed by John Kelly. The very relaxed and seemingly happy Winehouse spoke of music and her influences. Over the course of the interview she listed off influences and singers she loved like Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Sarah Vaughn, Minnie Riperton, Dinah Washington, and Carleen Anderson. She liked vocalists with dexterity, who stood out. Her first music love was R&B which she started listening to at the age of 10. Then she moved on to jazz at 14 and her fave was Thelonious Monk. Her brother had all these artists CDs and introduced Amy to them. She explained that over the past year to year and a half she got into Motown girl groups and gospel. She grew up listening to hip hop and jazz. Winehouse states that there is nothing more inspirational to her than gospel music. It is because the relationship that people have with their god is pure.
Amy Winehouse was always in the tabloids over the course of her short career. The woman in this film wasn’t anything like the tabloids made her out to be. Seemed sober and was apologetic that due to the weather her flight was late and that made the show late. Did not want to keep people waiting anymore so went right on stage. Towards the end of the interview she talks about recording her third album. An album that would never really come as on the morning of July 23, 2011 she died as a result of alcohol intoxication.
The documentary offers fans of the singer or music in general the opportunity to hear the story of her music in her own words.
- Tears Dry on Their Own
- You Know I’m No Good
- Love is a Losing Game
- Back to Black
- Mr + Mr. Jones