Digger talks to Lisa Martin, a popular performer on the 'retro
and nostalgia circuit' who offers a Forties/Wartime show
called 'I'll Be Seeing You' and a Fifties Swing show 'Ladies
of Swing'. Lisa also performs a Nostalgic Decades show which
combines the above with a 1960s/1970s dance/party set.
Can you tell us a little about your background and your
I grew up on the Wirral, near Liverpool. I've always sung
since I was little, and as a child I started off
performing in variety shows at the Floral Pavilion in New
Brighton and the Liverpool Empire. When I got older I moved
to London and spent a few years as lead singer in a function
band. Then I got a job on a cruise ship based in USA. I
spent the next several years performing around the world on cruise ships
and in hotels. These days, I'm based in Glasgow,
Scotland but I still travel far and wide singing at
functions, weddings and other events.
Why is Retro and Nostalgia so enduringly 'in fashion' and
what is this fixation that we Brits have with the war
In these times of reality TV; Big Brother etc, there
seem to be so many people who are famous for 5 minutes, then
they're never heard of again. I think that maybe people like
to look back to those days when showbiz was super-glamorous
and celebrities were 'real' stars. As for the interest
in the war years, it seems that there is still a real
sense of gratitude and respect for the men and women who
fought for us. People also seem to have a real
curiosity about what life was like back then during wartime.
You do a Forties/Wartime show and a Fifties Swing show. Can
you give us an idea of what to expect?
My 1940s tribute show is called 'I'll Be Seeing You'. I
cover all the popular wartime classics by artistes such
as Gracie Fields, Anne Shelton, the Andrews Sisters and, of
course, Dame Vera Lynn. Songs include Boogie Woogie
Bugle Boy, The White Cliffs Of Dover, Sing As We Go, Wish Me
Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye and not forgetting We'll
Meet Again. My 1950s tribute show is called 'Ladies of
Swing'. It is a glamorous, classy type of show with songs
from legendary artistes such as Judy Garland, Ella
Fitzgerald and Doris Day. I also like to include the
'fun' 1950s songs by favourites such as Connie Francis and
Brenda Lee. Songs like 'Stupid Cupid', 'Who's Sorry Now' and
'Que Sera Sera' are great for getting everybody to singalong
and get dancing.
What sort of feedback are you getting from your shows and
what aspects of your shows are the most popular?
Both shows are proving very popular. Songs from these eras
have such staying power - it's amazing to think they were
written so many years ago and yet they're still being
recorded today by artistes such as Michael Buble and Natalie
Cole. I get a lot of people telling me that these old
songs are "so much better than all that modern
rubbish!". I include a lot of sing-along type
songs in both shows, and it's really lovely to look around
and see the smiles on peoples' faces as they join in and
remember all those beloved memories.
Do you build the flute into these shows?
Yes, I do sometimes put a flute solo in if the song calls
for it, usually on the ballads or the jazzier numbers.
My favourite demo of yours is How Sweet It Is. Are there any
plans for a sixties or Tamla type show?
I do a Nostalgic Decades show which combines my 1940s
and 1950s tribute shows, together with a 1960s/1970s
dance/party set, so that has a lot of 1960s/Motown numbers
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I truly feel blessed to do what I do. I've spent my life
travelling the world and doing what I love. I especially
love my 1940s and 1950s tribute shows because they give me
the chance to bring back these beautiful songs to
What are your Retro passions?
I've always loved the music and movies of the 1940s and
1950s, ever since I was a child watching Hollywood musicals
with Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. I love
the glamour, fun and nostalgia of it all. I think
perhaps I was born in the wrong era!
What other plans are there for the future?
At the moment I'm just concentrating on working on my shows,
and making them as good as possible. I love researching new
(old!) songs. It's amazing how many gems are out there that
I've never heard before, so I'm always on the lookout for
more songs and ideas to add into my set.
here is the link to a youtube video of Lisa's 1940s