Bosses at Dundee Rep reckon they’ve scored a digital hit with a new online covers series.
In a bid to inject a healthy dose of street cred into the Tay Square venue’s new digital platform, the recently launched 3M Mixtape sessions see classics by the likes of Free, Culture Club and Portishead being given a 2021 makeover by prominent unsigned acts.
Bringing 20 artists together across 12 live recordings filmed over recent months, the physically-distant project sees a fresh clip being released weekly online on Sundays at 6pm.
It all kicked off on May 30 with a turn by Helensburgh-raised performer Reuben Joseph, followed by East Renfrewshire keys exponent Karen Fishwick unveiling her version of Lulu’s Take Me As I Am on June 6.
Last week it was the turn of musical theatre duo Darren Brownlie and Darren O’Sullivan to impress with their take on American pop-rocker Sara Bareilles’ You Matter To Me, with a cover of Free touchstone All Right Now by Edinburgh singer-songwriter Hannah Jarrett-Scott lined up as this weekend’s online offering.
Bright idea for creative connection
The brainchild of actors Dawn Sievewright and John McLarnon, along with Dundee Rep’s artistic director Andrew Panton, 3M Mixtape was mainly shot at various locations in Glasgow — where the thespians were based during lockdown — as well as Dundee’s Magdalen Green bandstand after restrictions started to ease.
Glasgow Girls star Dawn says the compilation album-type concept started out “through a desperate need for creative connection” while confined at home and spending long periods in the kitchen she shares with partner John.
“As the project began to shape itself it was very clear to John and I that we wanted to show a fully diverse and inclusive pool of talent that are all based and working in Scotland,” she adds.
“Each track took extensive planning as, fundamentally, we built each short film around the artist — it was a real collaboration — but also, it had to be the right fit for the whole project.
“We also wanted to interview each artist and really have a broad pool of experiences from lockdown. Some are known to the Dundee Rep stage and some aren’t, but they have all had extensive careers in and around Scotland.”
Watch out for Boy George
The tracks filmed in Dundee feature Lancashire singer Natasha Cottriall and Glasgow troubadour Harry Ward (July 4), plus Welsh-Greek actress Christina Modestou with Glasgow songsmith Sally Clay (August 15).
Viewers can also look forward to watching Culture Club icon Boy George (July 18) and Perthshire-based hit-maker Foy Vance (July 25) inspiring other hopefuls.
George, who turned 60 earlier this week, can be seen chatting with Dawn and John about the origins of his signature tune Karma Chameleon, which is being covered by Paisley artist Martin Quinn. Vance’s song The Wild Swans On The Lake is being performed by folk duo Christina Gordon and Annie Grace.
“Here at the Rep we have a strong focus on nurturing emerging and established talent to experiment and take creative risk, and there’s never been a more important period for us to prioritise this work,” says Andrew Panton.
“Three Metre Mixtape is a celebration of people, place and musical storytelling and it’s been a creative joy to collaborate with Dawn, John and some of the very best Scottish talent.”
Separately, Dundee electro funk goths Queequeg’s Coffin appear to have permanently passed over to the other side — or at least stepped into the shadows for the foreseeable future.
The buzz around the cult duo had been steadily building pre-pandemic on the back of a series of explosive performances at such venues at Conroy’s Basement.
Denied their gigging lifeblood for well over a year, however, it seems Queequeg have gone to ground, with all their social media no longer active.