Leoni Jansen and Annie Grace – Northern Lights, 2011
Since our first meeting in 1997 in the Netherlands, Leoni Jansen and I have remained firm friends. We were both performing in “Female Factory” a troupe of 13 female singers from all over the world, backed by a 10-piece band. Hosted by Amnesty international, we toured the Netherlands, Russia and Spain from 1997-1999.
Leoni and I released our Christmas album “Northern Lights” and toured Holland in December 2011. The album, a rich fusion of songs, with a winter/Christmas theme, ranges from the contemporary “Ready for the Dark” to the traditional “Auld Lang Syne”. With touches of humour thrown in, it’s an album of cross-genre appeal and Christmas flavour.
Grace, Hewat, Polwart
“gives fresh definition to the term ballsy" The Scotsman
On a black and blustery January night in 2006, three of the most distinctive female voices on the contemporary Scottish folk-roots scene got together round a Borders kitchen table with a bottle of rioja, some baked tatties and The Collected Songs of Robert Burns. What began as a brief set for a show at Celtic Connections Festival 2006 has evolved into and ongoing collaborative adventure.
Annie Grace, Corrina Hewat and Karine Polwart have performed together many times over the past ten years: as members of the landmark Scots Women celebration of Scots traditional song; with some of their Gaelic singing sisters, in the popular spin off touring project Scottish Women; and as members and guests of the Scottish folk big band The Unusual Suspects (which Corrina co-directs). Through these collaborative encounters they've discovered a mutual love of inventive vocal harmony and had a lot of fun.
In between times Annie crafted a smokily intimate solo album of traditional and contemporary songs and tunes "Take Me Out Drinking Tonight" (Greentrax) and her recently released follow-up “The Bell” (Gracie records) and in her other role as an actor, has starred in award -winning stage productions.
Corrina has recorded two sensuous solo albums of Scots song and dazzling harp virtuosity "My Favourite Place" (Footstompin) and "Harp I Do" (Big Bash Records, and pioneered (with partner David Milligan) the 32 piece magical musical monster The Unusual Suspects.
Karine has recorded four solo albums, twice winning "Best Original Song" at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
When they get together they sound - well - a bit like they are! Lilting and lovely sometimes; bolshy and bawdy at others; and both dark and discordant and hopeful and happy!
An album project is maturing slowly, much like the fine wine that gave birth to it.