The Highland Divas! Not the type of music you are accustomed to reading about on “Un-Block The Music.” However, as you know, my mantra is…listen to every kind of music at least once in your life. I listened to the Highland Divas…and I want more! The trio of Georgia, Margaret and Marla have diverse musical backgrounds, but a common heritage. Two of them are from Scotland and the other is from New Zealand. I had the pleasure of speaking with Marla Kavanuagh who talked about how the trio came together, and very importantly, how America has embraced them. Talking with her really lightened my day after listening to the morning news and hearing all the negativity surrounding our country today.
Before, “Un-Block The Music” shares this interview, I recommend you check the Divas out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xoLf_Nh9T4. Jimmy Fallon performed an impromptu song with them at the Metropolitan Room in New York during Tartan Week which celebrates the contributions that Scots and Scottish-Americans have made to America.
Marla met Margaret Kelly on the 10th Anniversary of Sept. 11th. You may remember Marla’s husband, the Singing Police Officer, Daniel Rodriguez.( Google him! He is awesome!) Marla explains. “Daniel was singing at a reception commemorating that day, and he was singing The Prayer with someone called Margaret Kelly. He went in for a rehearsal with Margaret and came back and told me he found my third sister, but she is Scottish and about a foot taller!.”
Marla has a twin sister, Marissa, with whom she also sings. Originally, Marissa was going to be part of the Highland Divas, but she was hesitant about spending that much time away from her home in Australia, so Margaret seemed the perfect fit to be a Diva. “Margaret and I started the group and went through a couple of people in the third spot. Now, we have Georgia who has been with us for 4 years and she is very well suited.”
All of these talented Divas have roots in musical theater, so they are a lot of fun to listen to, but also to watch. Georgia Johnson is an alumnus of Glasgow’s Musical Theatre Course at Knightswood Secondary School, and she moved to the U.S. in 2004 when she was granted a scholarship to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City. Margaret was also awarded with a scholarship to AMDA, and made her move to the U.S. perform not only with The Highland Divas, but in theater. She was seen in The Off-Broadway production of “Hereafter The Musical”!
Marla, too, is a critically acclaimed leading lady in Opera and Theater. She sang in the Los Angeles Opera Gala welcoming Placido Domingo as Artistic Director, and she starred in the post Broadway West Coast premieres of Terence MacNally’s “Masterclass” & Paul Gordon’s “Jane Eyre”. (She sings with her husband Daniel Rodriguez too)
This weekend, August 3, the Highland Divas will head up a fundraiser for the Schoolhouse Theater in Westchester County (Have I mentioned them before?? LOL)…It’s the Scottish Tattoo. Not only will you enjoy music by The Highland Divas and Schoolhouse favorite, guitarist, Peter Calo, but you will experience Scottish dancing, bag pipes and food prepared by Westchester’s Premiere Caterer, Jensina Olson!
Marla told “Un-Block The Music,” that she considers herself American. “The three of us are becoming citizens. And, we love to be able to promote Scottish music and culture and the connections between the two countries.”
For more info about The Highland Divas, go to: https://www.thehighlanddivas.net
Tickets for The Schoolhouse Event are available at: