The new girl on the block

Bella Hardy

Bella Hardy

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NEW girl on the folk block Bella Hardy brings her stunning voice to South Yorkshire this month.

Edale-born Bella will be at The Civic, Barnsley on Friday, September 16. She is certainly making a big mark, be it as a BBC Folk Awards nominee or as opening performer at the Royal Albert Hall’s Folk Prom.

But anyone who has charted Bella’s career will not be surprised that she is now earning the attention she deserves.

She grew up with music in the family home.

Her family sang in the tiny village choir where she grew up at Edale and she still recalls the days when she heard her father belt out old favourites such as Whiskey in the Jar and Liverpool Lou.

Fuelled with a passion for, and fascination with storytelling and traditional music, Bella’s latest stunning album, Songs Lost & Stolen, is her first for Navigator records - the home of folk heavyweights Bellowhead, Lau and Kris Drever.

It establishes place among the finest young folk acts around, with songs touching on both the storytelling elements of Kate Bush and the lovelorn song-writing of Carole King and ranging in subject from fairytales to working-class history via childhood nostalgia, myths, murder, and the human condition.

Bella attended the renowned Folkworks summer school when she was just 13 and discovered a gang of like-minded teens. Following an eye- and ear-opening trip to the Whitby Folk Festival, these new friends hatched a plan to attend similar festivals for free by forming the 12-strong band, The Pack.

They quickly became a fixture on the circuit, performing at Sidmouth, Warwick and Cambridge festivals over the next 10 years and releasing their own album, 12 Little Devils. During this time Bella also reached the finals of the BBC Young Folk Awards as a solo artist, accompanying herself on violin.

Last year she featured alongside Alasdair Roberts, Kathryn Williams and Camille O’Sullivan on former Beautiful South songwriter David Rotheray’s The Life of Birds concept album, singing lead vocal on several tracks including the wistful The Digital Cuckoo, which she co-wrote with David.

Bella Hardy is at The Civic, Barnsley, on Friday, September 16. Details: 01226 327 000 or www.barnsleycivic.co.uk

Music returns to the Rock@Maltby Folk Club next Friday after its summer break.

The mighty Kieran Halpin will be at Chesterfield Folk Club, which meets at Club Chesterfield, next Friday.

Comedienne Flossie Malavialle sings at the Letwell Village Hall next Friday, September 9.

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