Hard-working girl

To mark her 30th birthday, folk songstress Bella Hardy is taking the party on the road with her band The Midnight Watch.

One of the most creative, prolific and original singers in the UK and now winner of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of The Year award, Bella Hardy’s voice inhabits her characters and spins her stories with an equal balance of strength and sensitivity.

With fiddle in hand, she presents folk songs in the best tradition; not as antiquated museum pieces, but as relevant and very human artworks.

Four time nominee at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and winner of Best Original Song in 2012 for The Herring Girl, her own songs range in subject matter from fairytales to working class history, via childhood nostalgia, myth, murder and the human condition, touching on both the fantastical, storytelling elements of Kate Bush, and the lovelorn song-writing craft of Carole King.

Her path to a career in traditional music began with visits to folk festivals, joining a school ceilidh band, and attending the Folkworks summer school in Durham where, aged 13, she joined the sprawling, teenage ensemble The Pack with whom she performed for 10 years .

With them she appeared on the main stages of a number of institutions, including Sidmouth, Warwick and Cambridge festivals.

Accompanied by former Last Night’s Fun box player Chris Sherburn, Bella trod the folk club and festivals circuit, all the while embarking on projects as diverse as they were daunting in scale and ambition.

Be that singing the Scottish ballad Annie Laurie on Radio 2’s Titanic: Minute by Minute programme (the song was said to have been heard on the SS Californian as it sailed by the doomed ship) or performing unaccompanied in the centre of a sold-out Royal Albert Hall during The Proms.

More recently she co-wrote with former Beautiful South guitarist David Rotheray, for his concept album The Life of Birds, and composed the music for Radio 4’s The People’s Post – a documentary on the history of the Post Office.

Bella’s albums have been met with critical acclaim and her most recent release, Battleplan is no different.

New perspectives are given to some of her favourite traditional songs, and her own life intertwines with those of the heroines of folk songs past.

It is Bella’s most musically expansive and lyrically personal album to date; produced by Mattie Foulds and recorded with her touring band The Midnight Watch.

She plays next Thursday, (29 May) at CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts).

Tickets are £10 and the show starts at 8pm.

Phone 352 4900 or visit www.cca-glasgow.com for info.

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