Friday, May 06, 2011

'Songs Lost and Stolen' by Bella Hardy

6 May 2011

As you may remember, I first discovered the young English folk singer Bella Hardy as part of a tiny audience in the bar at the Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple in March 2008. A few months later she was opening the BBC Proms Folk Day concert in the Royal Albert Hall (reviewed here in July 2008). In March 2008 I wrote "She sings traditional English folk songs that tell a story - mostly grim tales, even when the music is uplifting. I would have welcomed a little more variety of style - it would have been good to hear her voice in a more modern idiom occasionally". Now Bella Hardy has released an album of her own compositions, 'Songs Lost and Stolen', and it's been well worth waiting for. It's a varied set of songs (with backing from members of Scotland's Burns Unit, reviewed here in November 2010) which betray a multitude of influences. Some modern folk singers write songs intended to sound like previously undiscovered ancient tunes but these songs are much more modern - pop with a strong folk influence. I was reminded of the songs of Karine Polwart (herself a member of the Burns Unit and reviewed here in November 2005, April 2006 and April 2008), Megson (reviewed here in January 2008) and occasionally of Joanna Newsom (reviewed here in November 2006) though without Newsom's vocal eccentricities. It's a lovely album.

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