The Eastgate Theatre welcomes one of traditional music’s most prolific and inventive artists this weekend (March 26) – one who is known both for her creative interpretations of traditional songs and as a powerful song-writer in her own right.
Bella Hardy has appeared on numerous BBC radio and TV programmes, sung solo in a sold-out Albert Hall at the Proms, written with Beautiful South founder David Rotheray, formed an all-female fiddle group with folk royalty Eliza Carthy, and was a recent winner of BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year.
However, her music is very hard to pigeonhole. Nor would she want it to be; this is a musician with a keen ear for other styles, much of which influences her own song-writing and playing.
“I never try to write or create in a specific genre,” says Bella. “Since I was a teenager, I’ve been performing folk music, fiddling and singing, and that comes largely from my love of traditional ballads. I think that will always be present in my music, but everything else I’ve listened to – from Tom Waits and Carole King to Joni Mitchell and Billie Holiday – seeps in too.”
Bella’s appearance at the Eastgate is part of a special, scaled-back series of performances across the UK this spring, following a breathless 2015. It was a year that saw the release of her seventh solo album, With the Dawn, to great critical acclaim; it was recently nominated for International Album of the Year at the Folk Alliance Awards in the US. With the Dawn is a highly personal collection of songs that stem directly from a notebook kept for a year in her life as she turned 30.
Other highlights this past year included a summer of supporting Grammy-award-winning Mary Chapin Carpenter, and a main stage performance at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival.
Bella Hardy plays at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles on Saturday 26 March, 7.30pm. Tickets are £14, £6 schoolchildren. Available from Box Office now on 01721 725777, or www.eastgatearts.com