After six years of acclaimed cabaret performances, diva Mama Alto and her musical directress Miss Chief spent November 2016 in an extraordinary entirely analogue recording facility for vinyl records, Alex Bennett’s Sound Recordings. Recorded live to tape on original vintage sound equipment - including an actual machine used by Nat King Cole himself at Capitol Records, and an RCA microphone of the kind favoured by Sarah Vaughan - the result is a stunning capture of their best loved song interpretations from their extensive jazz repertoire, released across a four record anthology.
There is something very special about intimate performances. When I first encountered the hidden gem of the gorgeous Porcelain Tea Parlour, it made my heart sing. The room is dim, with flickering candlelight, but you can see details emerge as your eyes acclimatise after stepping in from the brisk evening breezes of Carlton streets. The walls are a gentle forest green, the furniture is a quirky and delightful selection of carefully curated vintage and antique pieces - a leather Chesterfield couch here, a small marble table there, finishes of chocolate wood, satin and velvet textures abound, and there’s a charming record player nestled amongst potted plants. And everywhere, delicate tea sets nest and settle like little birds. We began a collaborative salon - a special project about connection and community. Seating less than twenty people per evening, with Miss Chief accompanying on the keys and ukulele and Scarlett brewing up divine artisan teas and tisanes, Mama Alto’s Salon Series was an extraordinary, gorgeous and delightful endeavour in love, kindness, joy and openness, with one salon every month for a year. With this record, we hope to pour you a cup of that magic brew.
- Mama xx