We are preparing this concert programme for first performance in 2019  - you can see the programme and listen to some of the songs on the programme page


Neal -   Last year Lani asked me to arrange Harold Arlen's Sleepin' Bee for inclusion in a mostly 'classical' recital. After hearing her recital, it struck me that she moved so easily between songs in different musical styles and was so engaging in performing them that I suggested she look into a programme presenting songs she felt 'in tune' with - whatever the genre they might have originated in. I'm delighted to be creating this programme with her now - it’s all great music, a wide range of emotions and flavours, we're creating our own arrangements of much of it and we're going to be leading the audience through the evening with chat about the songs to make it more than just a 'recital'. The Heart of the Matter is that a great song is moving and speaks to the listener of their humanity. We have chosen a programme of such songs. 


Leilani - My love of performing was probably born from a childhood raised on old MGM films and Judy Garland documentaries. There was something about the directness of the singing and of the music that really inspired me, but, as I started learning a ‘classical’ technique, I soon lost (or rather forgot) the flare and the freedom of those classic American songs, and thought I had to choose one style of singing. It wasn’t until I met Neal who suggested I take up jazz again that I realised that singing from the heart applies to every style of singing, and that moving between ‘jazz’ and ‘classical’ can unleash a certain freedom and bring out the uniqueness of what each piece has to offer. 

The Heart of the Matter is a selection of truly beautiful songs, handpicked because they all speak to the heart. We’ve laced through the programme some of the French impressionist music of Satie, Faure, and Poulenc which we feel both contrast and complement some of the snappier theatrical numbers. There’s a bit of everything - humour, sensuality, heartbreak, the lot! It’s been a pleasure to create such a programme with Neal, and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences. 


Versatile young singer Leilani Barratt brings her beautiful voice and playful musicianship to a wide variety of songs from comedy cabaret through individual versions of musical's hits to classical art song in this varied programme of moving, swinging, fun music.

Arranged and accompanied by Neal Thornton (Piano)