YOU HAVE to hand it to Matilda Macintyre.
Faced with the coronavirus-inspired cancellation of her sister’s birthday party and denied the chance to sing at a local gig supporting legendary Scottish band The Bluebells, she could have been forgiven for spending the rest of lockdown in an almighty teenage grump.
Instead, the 16-year-old came up with a great idea to help music-lovers beat the lockdown blues – a series of concerts from her very own kitchen.
The gigs have been so successful that Matilda and her support act (her mum, Katy Lironi) have been invited to perform by two leading charities.
“It happened almost by accident – Matilda was really looking forward to getting the chance to sing with her Makaton choir, who are a group of six young adults with Down’s Syndrome, at the Bluebells gig,” says Katy.
“They had been rehearsing for weeks, and this was their first public performance, tying in with the World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. It was also her sister Amelia’s 20th birthday that weekend, so we had a whole celebration planned.”
Katy adds: “Then, coronavirus struck and everything had to be cancelled, and Matilda was stuck at home feeling fed up, like most teenagers were.
“So she came up with the idea of doing the performance anyway – it was all rehearsed and ready to go – and Friday Night Kitchen Concerts was born.”
Matilda’s dad, musician Douglas MacIntyre, is the driving force behind Frets Acoustic, a series of off-the-beaten-track gigs by some of Scottish music’s leading lights. The Bluebells, due to perform on March 21, were following in the footsteps of Lloyd Cole, James Grant and Norman Blake and Euros Childs as part of the line-up. They will now perform at the Strathaven Hotel on October 2.
Katy adds: “After our first few concerts, Home Start Glasgow North got in touch to ask if we would do some Facebook live sessions for young children at home, and we were delighted to help.
“We sing and sign, a whole host of tunes from nursery rhymes to Beatles classics, all on a different theme each week. Matilda is in charge of the playlist.”
She laughs: “I don’t think we set out to be funny, but we have become a bit of a double act. People have really taken to Matilda’s personality. And she loves it – her lifetime ambition is to be an actress, so this is right up her street.”
Matilda and Katy were also asked to perform as part of a weekend of livestreamed music organised by Tiny Changes, the charity set up by Frightened Rabbit drummer Grant Hutchison following the death of his brother Scott.
“It was fantastic to be part of that event, we were honoured to be asked and delighted the gigs raised so much money,” adds Katy.
Now that lockdown restrictions are easing and Frets Concerts are back on track, Katy is not sure whether the Kitchen Concerts will continue.
“It will be up to Matilda,” she smiles. “Matilda always has the last word.”