Frankie (frankiearmstrong.com) sings ballads of the British tradition, lyrical and rural folksongs, industrial women’s songs, and contemporary songs – those of her own and singers such as Leon Rosselson and Peggy Seeger. She also sings of Bertolt Brecht, accompanied by Mikey Price.
She has been singing professionally since 1964. In 1975 she began her pioneering Voice Workshops based on ethnic styles of singing – where singing is as natural as speaking. She has sung and run workshops all over Europe, North America and Australia, working with Community Groups, Theatre Companies, International Voice and Theatre Festivals, and in every kind of setting from hospitals to the National Theatre Studio, London. She has made 11 solo albums, written her autobiography As Far As the Eye Can Sing and edited a collection of essays Well Tuned Women with Jenny Pearson.
Her latest book, with Janet Rodgers, is Acting and Singing with Archetypes. She has also contributed chapters to eleven other publications.
Mary-Anne is a performer and educator, with an enduring interest in traditional carnival characters of Trinidad and Tobago. She leads the old time calypso string-band, Domestic Violins. In 1999, Mary-Anne and Robert Evans formed the medieval Welsh duo Bragod.
She continues to lead voice and performance workshops, to work in theatre and to perform at ritual events in the community.
Bob plays the the crwth, lyre and fiddle. He co-founded Bragod with Mary-Anne Roberts in 1999 (bragod.com). Bragod is a voice and crwth duo devoted to re-uniting the music of medieval Wales with the formal, high-art poetry of the same period. Bragod’s prime musical source is the Robert ap Huw manuscript. Bragod also makes settings of modern poems in Welsh and English.
Bob also plays fiddle, specialising in Welsh, English and Irish dance tunes.
Bob also plays in Domestic Violins, an Ole Time Trinidadian String Band playing calypso and ritual Trinidadian repertoire.
Darien performs songs, poems and character sketches – mostly Australian traditional and modern – with guitar, harmonica or acapella, or sometimes with mandolin, lagerphone or hammer and screwdrivers.
Regular Guest Singers and Musicians
Bread and Roses
This trio is made up of Frankie Armstrong, and singers/choir leaders Laura Bradshaw and Pauline Down. They explore a repertoire largely of women’s songs past and present, songs they have penned themselves and songs promoting social justice. Glorious harmonies are the hallmark of this trio, including the exotic sounds of Bulgaria and Georgia.
Variegated Women is a feisty, folky, five-piece female voice and instrumental ensemble, with a passion for singing to promote change. We can ring the changes from one voice to five – some of our repertoire is acapella and some with instrumentation that includes guitar, saxophone, flute, accordion, whistle and drums. This means we can create a performance of great richness and variety, exploring different genres and textures. Our hope is to communicate power, tenderness and fun involving the audience both as listeners and sometime joiners-in.
Shanee is a singer/songwriter living in Abergavenny who loves to perform in the supportive environment of the Acoustic Tuesday club, as well as listening to the other musicians there. She mainly offers songs she has written herself, mostly arising from her personal experiences, which at times include some German lyrics. As Shanee studied Indian raga singing with Gilles Petit, some of her tunes might have an Indian flavour.
David is a performing storyteller with a love of traditional ballads from the British Isles, Ireland and America, which he performs acapella. His repertoire also includes contemporary songs, especially with a political edge, as well as monologues and some great old comic songs from the Music Hall era.