When I was about to be 18, hanging out in a Pub in Hastings one summer night, I sang The House of the Rising Sun with a guitar player whose name I (believe) was Macker. Prior to this event I hardly spoke, let alone sing. It must have been the Cider I was drinking. Or the shape of the moon! The only other song I could remember was Summertime and I was persuaded to sing that as well. My first ever performance in front 19 people and a dog. Or two. It was along time ago! I was aspiring to be a beatnik at the time, so I became a busker and there began my life as a chanteuse. In this way I have managed to avoid a proper job for most of my adulthood. Lucky me. Much music have I made and far have I travelled, consequently I have many more T-shirts than one woman truly needs.
I started singing regularly in the streets of London and along the south coast in the sixties, working with assorted guitar and harmonica players until I formed my first band; THE RACE. This Blues and Folk based outfit worked mainly in the London area with one or two visits to the Continent to play at Blues Festivals. Played mainly clubs and colleges, and supported among other luminaries of the time, Cream, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, The Yardbirds, Graham Bond Organisation, Howling Wolf, Buddy Guy, Freddy King. Since those early explorations into the world of singing and earning a crust, I have recorded & or toured in U.K. America, Scandinavia, most of Europe, Poland, Estonia, and beyond.
In the nineties I met the composer Orlando Gough and he invited me to sing the part of a very drunk & furious woman in his opera, Hotel, libretto by Caryl Churchill. Then followed a piece called Shouting Fence which begat the Shout; a 16 and sometimes more strong vocal group formed by Orlando & the singer composer Richard Chew. We are now in our 7th year of existence & have released a second C.D. Deep Blue, and tour regularly both in the U.K. and internationally.
I recorded an album in 2004, Mother, produced by Ian Shaw; featuring among others, Annie Whitehead, Jose Cupido, Harry Becket, Stan Adler, Steve Watts, Elton Dean, Mark Fletcher, and Greg Wain, another Shout singer, playing Guitars. Quite incestuous really.
In 1985 with the help of my friend, the singer Maggie Nichols, I found myself teaching on one of her workshops, whilst she was away, and once I had worked out what it is I do! in order to convey some of that to others; I had found a stimulating extension to my life. How does the voice work and how to express it fully? A fascinating and ongoing exploration. I have come to love this work, and combine it very happily with the rest of my living as a singer.
Among those projects is the Group Sing For Joy. Set up 3 years ago for People with Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions. We meet once a week and have now performed in Public for the 5th time, our own Benefit concert At the TUC Congress Hall in central London and at the PDS annual Carol Concert and will do so again this year at Southwark Cathedral. A wonderful place for us to sing and they are wonderful. We range in age from twenties to eighties, and some have hardly ever sung before and some a little but all put heart and huge spirit into the group.
In 1998 I undertook training In Voice Movement Therapy, an arts therapy rooted in the singing voice. This has given me another paradigm within which to work with others. The work has also informed my own performance and teaching.
Like many of the unclassifiable & eccentric musicians in London, The Vortex in Stoke Newington became my spiritual home over the last 20 years. I became a regular fixture both as a performer & an audience.
Something Secret; a duo with Giles Perring, of Echo City, & set originally around my song poems & our improvisational wanderings is something secret we hope to develop further in the next period of time. We are almost at the last stages of a recording; recorded so far on The Isle Of Jura, Scotland, Deptford High Street and The Greenwich Foot Tunnel, in South East London, The Malvern Hills and Tufnell Park in North London. Out, hopefully, later this year. Then it won’t be a secret anymore..
Currently I perform my own curious songs & poems and some Jazz Songs with the musicians I have had the phenomenal pleasure to work with over the years, sing with Something Secret The Shout The UK Funk All Stars and mmmm....... well....... anything that comes along that might tickle my imagination stir my heart and challenge my bones and brain...
So here I am in the 21st Century. I have two children, Sam and Kasia Rose, much music still to make and listen to, and hopefully many more adventures around the corner. I wish for Peace on Earth, an end to the destruction and pollution of this Earth and an end to the mindless cruelty of Wars in the name of religion, greed and ignorant prejudice.