Sarah Jane Buckley’s emotional journey in Songbird: The Music of Eva Cassidy

Sarah Jane Buckley in Songbird: The Music of Eva Cassidy,
Sarah Jane Buckley in Songbird: The Music of Eva Cassidy,

Eva Cassidy’s success is more than she could ever have dreamed of – and, sadly, it’s a success she never lived to see.

The talented and spiritual song stylist died of skin cancer when she was in the prime of her life, at just 33 years old.

By the time of her death, in 1996, she was unknown outside her native Washington DC but, within four years, Terry Wogan had discovered and promoted her haunting interpretation of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ to the British public.

A camcorder recording of Eva performing the song at the Blues Alley jazz club was shown on the BBC’s ‘Top of The Pops 2’ and, subsequently, sales of her album ‘Songbird’ outstripped top stars including Madonna, Craig David and Robbie Williams.

Now Sarah Jane Buckley, familiar to millions of soap fans as crazy Kathy Barnes from Hollyoaks, is taking theatre audiences on a powerful and emotional journey in ‘Songbird: The Music of Eva Cassidy’.

This concert, which tells the story of Eva’s life, comes to Mansfield’s Palace Theatre on Saturday, March 28.

Having already made her name as one of the world’s leading Eva Cassidy interpreters, Sarah Jane is well aware of the responsibilities associated with delivering a performance which has been hailed by critics as “almost an exact copy of the original”.

“In the past, I’d always sung as myself,” says Sarah Jane. “Performing in the style of someone as vocally iconic as Eva Cassidy required a lot of practice but, the thing is, because there’s very little footage of her on the internet, you don’t really see her visually.

“When she sang, Eva breathed in a different place from a normal singer so when she took a breath it kind of coincided with where she took a chord. That’s why her songs are so different, with that breathiness and very individual style of singing, which was amazing to have to copy. She had an incredible gift.“

Sarh Jane is relishing her role in ‘Songbird: The Music of Eva Cassidy. “It takes you on a very emotional journey, but there’s also lots of happiness to the show. I guess it’s a celebration of her music as well as a tribute to her life, “ she said.

Tickets £18.50, £17.94 (concessions). Call 01623 633133