EP 1 – Mike Collins | Aurora Colson – “Michael & Aurora”

Cover pic for Michael & Aurora EP

Michael and Aurora met in February 2010 and started working together from June of that year, driven by their common musical interests. After an intense period of rehearsals they started performing live in October 2010, averaging a gig a week until their last performance on October 14, 2011. Throughout this period they also worked on a number of studio projects. In October 2011 the decision was made to focus on completing various studio recordings for the rest of the year.

The duo’s music is a unique mix of French pop and jazz classics such as ‘La Vie En Rose’ and ‘Nuages’ mixed with American pop and jazz standards such as ‘Moon River’ and ‘My Funny Valentine’, together with contemporary UK pop songs such as ‘Valerie’ and ‘Like A Star’. During their ‘live’ performances, Michael played guitar and occasionally sang backing vocals while Aurora sang lead vocals and played ukulele, hand drum or shaker on various songs.

Six of the most requested songs from the ‘live’ sets were recorded during this time with five of these available as singles; they are all available together on this EP.

The Tracks

1.         Baby Mine

(Music written by Frank Churchill; Lyrics written by Ned Washington)

Vocals & Piano by Aurora Colson; Epiphone Texan guitar, Fender Precision Bass, hand percussion, mandolin, timple, pedal harp & piano-accordion by Mike Collins

Recorded at several sessions in February and March 2011, “Baby Mine” is a song that was first featured in the Walt Disney film “Dumbo”, released in 1941. As Michael explains, “Inspired by hearing Alison Krauss’s version of the song that Dumbo’s mummy sings to him, I put this arrangement together with Aurora’s help. I played acoustic guitar, a Timple from the Canary Isles, some mandolin, bass guitar, pedal harp, piano-accordion and some hand percussion.”

2.         Joe Le Taxi

(Written by Franck Langolff and Étienne Roda-Gil)

Vocals by Aurora Colson; Epiphone Texan guitar by Mike Collins

Recorded in May 2011, “Joe Le Taxi” is a haunting version of the well-known Vanessa Paradis ‘hit’ record from the late 80’s. The hypnotic guitar pattern that runs throughout most of the song is relieved at the intro and near the outro by a distinctive descending musical figure. After the lyrics have all been sung, Aurora adds beautiful improvised vocal melodies that drift around the stereo ‘soundstage’, surrounded by spooky echoes, before disappearing into the distance…

3.         Jolene

(Written by Dolly Parton)

Vocals by Aurora Colson; Martin HD28 guitar by Mike Collins

“Jolene” is a straightforward ‘cover’ of the Dolly Parton classic that became one of the most-requested songs in the duo’s ‘live’ sets. Recorded around Easter 2011, this powerful rendition captures the spirit of the ‘live’ performances extremely well.

4.          Ballade Irlandaise (Un Oranger)

(Music written by Emil Stern; Lyrics written by Eddy Marnay)

Vocals by Aurora Colson; Burguet Spanish guitar by Mike Collins

Recorded in the autumn of 2010, this song, originally popularized in 1958 by French comedy actor, Bourvil, is another straightforward ‘cover’ that proved popular at gigs – this time of Nolwen’s version of Ballade Irlandaise (Un Oranger).

5.          Verlaine

(Music written by Charles Trenet; Lyrics written by Paul Verlaine)

Vocals, ukulele, handclaps and whistling by Aurora Colson; Acoustic guitars, bottleneck guitar, bass guitar, djembe, shekere, finger cymbals, handclaps by Mike Collins

Recorded at four sessions in July and August 2011, “Verlaine” is a famous poem by Paul Verlaine called “Chanson d’Automne” which was set to music by Charles Trenet in 1941. Aurora plays this song on ukulele and performed this regularly at gigs with Michael.

6.         Le Temps Des Cerises

(Written by Jean-Baptiste Clément & Antoine Renard; Arranged by Mike Collins & Aurora Colson)

Vocals by Aurora Colson; Epiphone Texan guitar by Mike Collins

“Le Temps Des Cerises” was written in France in 1866, with words by Jean-Baptiste Clément and music by Antoine Renard. The song was originally dedicated to a nurse who was killed in the Semaine Sanglante (‘Bloody Week’) in which French government troops overthrew the Paris Commune (a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28 in 1871). Recorded at two sessions in July 2011, Aurora sings this as a beautiful song for the springtime.

Click here to buy this on iTunes

Click here to buy this in MP3 format on Amazon

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