Mamma jamma 

Would it be a grievous understatement to say that Detroit has a serious dearth of bona fidecabaret acts? Alrighty, then. Now, when one of ’em — in this case Sunshine Doray — goes on hiatus for more than a year, the “tee many martoonis” set really feels the absence. The good news for nighthawks is that Sunshine Doray is making her ivory-and-irony-tickling return to the stage this week.

Sunshine Doray started as a musical nom de plume for Kate Feeny (then O’Hara) three years ago. The classically trained pianist and music educator cut her solo performance teeth at the Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramck. The character Doray let Feeny indulge her inner piano diva behind the super-confident sass of an entertainer on the verge of delivering that song that will make you cry through your laughter.

Her repertoire includes such treasures as a rapturous ballad about a leper named Anton (“Anton the Leper”) as well as romps through id-driven relationships (“I Was Right and You Were Wrong”).

Feeny had gotten some momentum going last year. She had found an able onstage partner in vocalist and drummer Deanne Iovan, whose judicious percussion and harmonies complemented Feeny’s vamping pianista persona.

“Deanne has a much more beautiful voice than me. I wanted a band buddy! It’s a drag to be up there alone.”

Thing is, nature knows no career momentum. The Doray crew took more than a year off when Feeny stepped away from performing to give birth and raise her new daughter, Fiona.

Some of the Feeny’s newest songs are the soon-to-be folk hits “Now We’re Putting on Your Diaper” and “Now We’re Digging in the Garden.” Of course, they’re intended for an audience of one — her 5-month-old.

“I think the high achievements of musicians through the years have kind of denied people of their birthright,” Feeny says.

“Music is like life, it’s like breathing. With her [Fiona] around, music is becoming delightful again. Everything becomes a song.”

But don’t come to a Sunshine Doray show expecting kiddie fare. The darkly comedic stuff will still take center stage.

“Oh, yeah,” she says, laughing. “We’ll be playing all the hits — ‘The Leper,’ ‘I Was Right and You Were Wrong,’ all of ’em.”


Wednesday, May 25, at Club Bart, 22726 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-8746.

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