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The Festival Cafe - day seven

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 11:55 UK time, Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Here are the Festival Cafe runner blogs for Tuesday 23 August...

Andy Mallon

Today's show at Potterrow was a theatrical delight as our audience were joined by the magnificent Frank Sinatra & the delightful Doris Day. Let me explain... it wasn't the real Hollywood legends, however we were glad to welcome Richard Shelton who is playing Frank Sinatra in the production "Frankly I Was a Fool for Love" and Sally Hughes who is playing Doris Day in "Sentimental Journey: A Life of Doris Day." We also had the pleasure of being joined by Amjad Ali Khan, a world renowned Sarrod player, (it's a traditional Indian instrument!) and actor Art Malik who is starring in the play "Rose", which was specifically written for him, and explores the concept of Britishness.

Richard Shelton as Frank Sinatra

Today I was looking after Frank Sinatra, not a phrase I expected to be able to say before today! Richard brought a couple of people with him in his entourage including pianist David Patrick and a couple of the producers of his show, it's on around the corner, so it's not far for them to travel! Richard wowed the audience with his performance as Frank; I noticed that some of the female members of the audience were transfixed by Richard's glow and rather pleasant aftershave! He performed two songs for us "You make me feel so young" and "Fly me to the Moon." Richard then had to quickly dash away for the 2.30pm performance of his other show, "iCroon", in which the audience chose the songs he performs. Two shows every day - we salute you Richard!

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and it's Clare's last day of the Festival Café this year (aww!). However, fear not, we've got a great array of fantastic guests to entertain you. Author and journalist Jon Ronson joins Clare on the sofa to discuss whether the most powerful people in the world are actually psychopaths (interesting!), world champion beat boxer Beardyman entertains us with his rather unique talent, and singer and festival favourite Camille O'Sullivan will be performing for us. That's not all, you know us at the Festival Café we like to give you more, so we've also got the cast of one of the most interesting shows at this year's International Festival, "1001 Nights" and The Wireless Mystery Theatre will be performing a radio ghost story for us- scary stuff!

Tweet us on @BBCFestivalCafe to let us know you're favourite guest on today's show, and also, why not join us at Potterrow tomorrow from 1315, there will be a few tickets available on the door if you don't already have one!

Annabel Cooper

"Dum dee dum dee dum de de dum duum de du de dum"...ah, what is it about Frank Sinatra's music that keeps you humming his tunes all day long? Being far too young to remember Ol' Blue Eyes the first time around, I've never really been Sinatra-struck before...or 'Sinatranced' if you will...but today, when Richard Shelton's uncannily accurate Frank pointed at ME and told me he loved ME mid song (it most certainly was NOT that woman behind he was pointing to), I was instantly smitten.

Not content with bringing stars back from the grave, the Festival Café today recreated that special moment in 1954 when everyone's favourite musical stars of the time, Frank Sinatra and Doris Day, came together for the first time in celluloid. A stroke of genius by producer Rob, our latter day Doris and Frank (Sally Hughes and Richard Shelton), shared the stage to give us a little taste of the Hollywood glamour, and darkness, they portray in their respective shows: 'Sentimental Journey: A Life of Doris Day' and 'Frankly I Was A Fool for Love'.

The Festival Café is also in the habit of making magical moments of its own. I have never seen the audience so rapt and attentive as when caught under the spell of the beautiful sound created by virtuoso (or Ustad) musician Amjad Ali Khan performing on the classical Indian instrument, the sarod. From a dynasty of sarod players, we couldn't help but be caught up in the mystical and spiritual sound he created and I firmly believe Ali Khan's assertion that he was sent from God for one purpose only - to transfix the world with his Sarod.

Guests Art Malik and Amjad Ali Khan onstage.

Nestling on the end of the sofa, the legendary actor (swoon) Art Malik would probably agree. Presenter Clare English had to rouse him back from the sarod's spell after Ali Khan's performance, but once she had he was charm personified and I was once again fighting THAT woman behind me for a moment in his gaze...for the record I won...and even shook his hand twice, ha.

Before this gets nasty, we must return to yesterday's scientific endeavour and our pursuit of the truth behind senior producer Amanda's cosmic link to the backstage wristbands. If you remember, Amanda somehow co-ordinates her outfits to match everyday, so yesterday we asked her to predict today's colour. Her guess: Orange. The wristband.........white! Imposter I hear you say...but wait, she was still wearing a white cardigan that picked up the soft ivory hew of the band...the experiment continues...

Joanne Smithers

Amjad Ali Khan performing with his Sarod.

Some of the guests I have been asked to look after on Festival Café have instilled me with more fear than others. Doing some research on Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan made me feel slightly trepidatious about shooting the breeze in the green room.
I mean, the Dalai Lama is a fan, he has played at the U.N and if I were to list all of his awards, achievements and performances then there would be no more room to write this blog.

- What's that? You want me to list them? But then you would miss
out on all my amusing insights from behind the scenes. Hush now.

What a delightful surprise it was then to meet Amjad and his son, Amaan and discover that, while he is a man of deep spirituality and immense talent, he also is comfortable discussing Big Brother, Shilpa Shetty and the recent riots. Phew.

- Not that I am a philistine or devoid of any conversational topics
more highbrow than those covered by Heat you understand.

Amjad spoke about the importance of legacy and the passing on of his knowledge to his two sons who are now the seventh generation of Sarod players in their family. He told me about a performance where he played through the night with his sons, the performance started at 10 pm and continued until 7 am. Pretty hardcore Sarod playing going on there but what an experience for the audience.

Amjad hopes his sons will play the Edinburgh International Festival next year, I think they should all play together. Let's do an all nighter!

Tomorrows' show looks to be a fantabulous affair with 1001 Nights, Beardyman, the Wireless Mystery Theatre, Jon Ronson and Camille- I am tired out just typing their names.

Catch it as ever at 1315 on BBC Radio Scotland.

If I've said it once I've said it a million (ok, five) times - if you missed today's show you can listen again on the BBC Radio Scotland Website.

Lalita Augustine

Today was another good day. I was looking after "Doris Day" aka Sally Hughes and her musical director Jo Stewart who are touring with their show "Sentimental Journey: A Life of Doris Day." This led to a discussion about the actual Doris Day and the extraordinary life she has led. She is now 87 and retired from showbiz, living in California as an animal rights activist.

Sally Hughes' Doris Day

She is of course, due to release her first new album in 25 years in September, called "My Heart" which is a compilation of unreleased recordings produced by her only son Terry Melcher, before his death in 2004.

Sally performed "The Deadwood Stage" in full Calamity Jane gear and then had a quick costume change in our glamorous backstage toilets into an elegant dress to finish with "It's Magic." And it was simply magical.

Continuing with the movie icons theme, we had Richard Shelton as Frank Sinatra and he definitely looked and sounded the part! You can catch him in his show as Frank in "Frankly I was a Fool for Love."

The audience were then mesmerised with a taste of the East with a performance from Amjad Ali Khan with the classical Indian instrument, the sarod. Of all people, the Dalai Lama is a fan of Amjad's music!

He's in Edinburgh performing a series of morning ragas at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh.

And during the whole show, we had the actor Art Malik on stage with Clare. I think there were a few ladies in the audience who were very pleased to see him! Art is appearing for the first time at the Fringe in a play entitled "Rose", at the Pleasance Courtyard until August 29.

The play is about the reunion after many years apart of a father and daughter and the complications that arise. The father and daughter in the play are that in real life too - Art playing the father and real life daughter Kiera Malik playing the daughter. To make the play even more of a family affair, its produced by Art's other daughter, Jessica.

You can listen again to this show on the BBC Scotland website and please tune in tomorrow for more fun at the Fringe!


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