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the songs. In the evening, I’ll
be performing along with Martin ‘... I could never sing in a foreign language.
Simpson, Bellowhead, then there
will be a ceilidh led by the London
I need to know what every word means.’
Lasses. There’s so many of my
friends coming, and even an Edale
mini-bus! I’ve been scratching my
head as to how I got picked. I do good enough. Honesty is the just chat and enjoy what we’re
feel that getting the front cover on key for me. It’s very much what I doing. I did some support for Last
fRoots Magazine last year really do. I don’t try and do things that Night’s Fun and Chris would come
upped my publicity. I’m hoping I don’t understand. I chose to and accompany me for a couple
I won’t have time to get nervous study English Literature because of songs, and last Christmas we
as I’m playing at Brampton just of my love of story telling, and a decided to work as a duo.” The
before, then running straight down huge part of my love of song is duo has a great onstage chemistry
to London for rehearsals.” of course the story. I could never and their gigs are great fun. Bella
sing in a foreign language. I need clearly relishes this aspect of her
Bella hasn’t so far mentioned her to know what every word means. performance as telling the stories
debut album ‘Night Visiting,’ which I think about every single word, through the songs. She really
is in fact a highly original piece what story lies behind them, what enjoys the ‘active listening’ in folk
of work. Very fresh-sounding, happened. I stay away from audiences. In terms of her own
with bold, sparse arrangements, foreign songs. They don’t belong musical tastes, she describes her
brimming with confidence and to me. I do feel that you have listening as a “random hotch-
very honest. I’ve heard people to own a song in some way to potch. I’ve got a 1950s collection
describe Bella’s music as ‘takes- be able to sing it true. I include called Jukebox Gems on the
no-prisoners’ and while this Scottish songs like ‘Dog and Gun’ go, some Ella Fitzgerald, some
may sound a little dramatic, she in my repertoire, but I personalise Steeleye Span.”
certainly isn’t taking the easy them, sing them from my heart.”
route by offering sweet-sounding, album is a good snapshot, very What of the future, beyond
unchallenging arrangements. true and very unengineered. It’s Something Bella is clearly the next album? “I can’t think
“The album was so unplanned, an album that looks back over enjoying is her collaborative beyond the Royal Albert Hall at
and very organic. I chose songs my history really. With my next partnership with Chris Sherburn, the moment!” she laughed. And
from the last four or five years that album I’ll be looking forward, and who she describes as ‘practically with those words, she dashed
I’ve been enjoying, including a looking for something very fresh, my brother in law’, for he is her away (cheerily and breezily no
couple of my own songs, and an and a mixture of traditional and sister’s partner. “We get on stage, doubt!) to pack her car to head
original by Kristina Olsen, called original songs again, including it’s just like we’re in the front room to Newcastle before heading for
‘Heart Hill’ – a lovely song. The some of my own if I think they’re together, we feel comfortable, we London the following morning… q
The Living Tradition - Page 2
Issue80.indd 27 14/7/08 14:50:00
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