Kirsty Almeida announces new studio album

Kirsty Almeida

Singer-songwriter Kirsty Almeida is set to release Moonbird, her first studio album since 2014’s Déjàvoodu on her own independent label, All Made Up Records.

Currently living in the hills of Hebden Bridge in the North of England, the Gibraltarian returns with new creative vigour following a recording hiatus, which saw her devoting time to her young son as well as healing from PTSD and post-natal depression. Influenced by the experience of motherhood, an innate love of storytelling and affinity with the natural world, Almeida’s nine-song collection exhibits accomplished song-craft, rich arrangements and exquisite production.

The album was recorded between a variety of studios including John Ellis’ Limefield studio, George Atkins’ 80 Hertz, The Travelling Band’s Pinhole Sound, Terry Britton’s Mancave and Low Four Studios at Manchester’s Old Granada studios. The former Decca signed artist enlisted the services of Grammy award-winning engineers Jerry Boys (Buena Vista Social Club/Toumani Diabaté) and Greg Calbi (John Mayer, Norah Jones and Bon Iver) to mix and master the LP. The album cover shot was taken by iconic Rock Archive photographer Jill Furmanovsky (Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Clash).

“This album debuts the real me”, Almeida states, “the warrior, the artist, the wizard, the girl, the broken, the found and the re-birthed”.

With its South American flavours and huge swirling vocal and string arrangements, title track ‘Moonbird’ is a work of art. Kirsty pulls out the musical stops with its 5/4 time signature and it is hypnotic, while ‘I’m Going To Love You’ encapsulates the sound of the New Orleans saloon or Hootenanny celebration.

‘Josie Brown’, produced by BBC lifetime achievement award-winning Bill Leader, is a blue and uplifting first-person account of an elderly childhood mentor. It captures the warmth of Kirsty’s voice and guitar playing, embellished with dustings of acoustic piano and delicately placed strings which elevate the humble song to glorious heights. Hearing it for the first time, musician and producer Martin Glover, aka.Youth, commented: ‘If that’s a true story she’s an incredible songwriter and if it’s not, she’s a f**king genius.’ When prolific award-winning songwriter Guy Chambers heard Kirsty sing Josie Brown live by chance he asked her to collaborate with him on a song.

Kirsty’s love of 19th century parlour guitars also informs her songwriting. The instruments were crafted for women to entertain in the parlors. The smaller body was designed to fit the petite frame of women at the time, reflecting femininity. They lend what Kirsty terms an “indescribable magic” to songs like ‘You Make My Heart’. Parlor guitars aren’t the only captivating stringed instruments in use, however, as John Haycock’s West African kora adds light, regal melodies to the subtly arranged ‘Into The Light’, while a lilting, shimmering electric guitar played by guitar master, Billy Buckley, underpins the sweet and soulful ‘Find Your Way’.

 “I am so thankful to the musicians who made this album with me,” Almeida professes. “They poured their beautiful musicality into the album and helped me build my wings with their encouragement. I am more me than I ever have been and this album is my most honest offering to date.”

The singer, who gave the world a wondrous collection of Winter Songs, here eschews the darkness of wintertide, bringing light and positivity to the fore. “I feel like the last five years of my life was a journey into the darkest places in me,” Kirsty explains, “bringing light to the most painful places I never even knew existed ‘till post-natal depression and PTSD cracked me open, so I could become the best version of me. I am now healthier and happier than I ever was before and I have such a new appreciation of music and my relationship with it.”

Artist’s website:

‘Into The Light’:

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 Winners Announced

Lifetime Achievement Awards for Don McLean and The Dubliners

Four Awards for June Tabor & Oysterband

Good Tradition Awards for Ian Campbell and Bill Leader

Broadcast from The Lowry in Salford for the first time

The influential careers of singer-songwriter Don McLean and Irish folk legends The Dubliners were celebrated last night(Wednesday 8th February) at the 13th BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Presented by Radio 2 Folk Show host Mike Harding and singer Julie Fowlis, this was the first year the awards were held outside London. The event was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, online and on BBC Red Button from the Lowry in Salford.

Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music said:

“Folk music is enjoying a fantastic resurgence in popularity in the UK with a vibrant and varied scene. Tonight’s event proves once again how important it is for Radio 2 to schedule our annual Folk Awards as well as our weekly folk show, and I’d like to congratulate all of the winners.”

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Don McLean who commented:

“I thank the BBC for thinking of me and honouring me with this award. The UK audience has been among the most loyal for over 40 years and without them certainly I wouldn’t be considered for this honour, so I thank the BBC and I thank the British public”.

The Dubliners, who celebrate their 50th year of being together this year, had their achievements recognised when they received their Lifetime Achievement accolade from singer-songwriter Ralph McTell.

The night in part belonged to June Tabor and Oysterband who picked up four awards for each of the categories they were nominated in. Folk singer June was reunited with roots rebels Oysterband after 21 years and their much acclaimed reunion led them to receiving the prestigious Best Album Award for Ragged Kingdom, Best Traditional Track for Bonny Bunch of Roses and Best Group, while June was crowned Folk Singer of the Year.

The evening was also a successful one for Tim Edey who picked up two awards – Musician of the Year and with Brendan Power the gong for Best Duo.

For the first time the Best Original Song prize was given to two winners, with Bella Hardy’s The Herring Girl and Steve Tilston’s The Reckoning sharing the honours. 21 year-old Lucy Ward was a Young Folk Award Finalist in 2009 and now found herself picking up the Horizon Award, which recognises the achievements of newcomers, for her blend of modern and traditional folk.

The Home Service, whose Live 1986 album was released in 2011 following the discovery of a 25-year old tape, were named as Best Live Act. Special recognition went to Ian Campbell and Bill Leader who were honoured with the Good Tradition Award which pays tribute to those who keep traditional folk music alive. Malcolm Taylor OBE, Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at the English Folk Dance and Song Society was recognised for his 30 years of service as the recipient of the Roots Award.

Ioscaid (pronounced iss-kidge), a six piece band from Northern Ireland picked up the accolade for Young Folk Award. The group, who are aged between 18 and 20, are made up of Dermot and Fintan Mulholland from Derry, Declan Magee and Niall McCrickard from Down, Niall Murphy from Armagh and Ciaran Hanna from Tyrone.

Celebrities who were on presenting duty on the night included singer-songwriter Ralph McTell, Billy Elliot playwright Lee Hall, Coronation Street’s Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow), comedians Ed Byrne and Jeremy Hardy and BBC broadcasters Stuart Maconie and Paul Gambaccini. Highlights of the Radio 2 Folk Awards will be available on the BBC Red Button for seven days after the award ceremony.



June Tabor



Tim Edey & Brendan Power



June Tabor & Oysterband



Ragged Kingdom – June Tabor & Oysterband



The Herring Girl – Bella Hardy

The Reckoning – Steve Tilston



Bonny Bunch of Roses – June Tabor & Oysterband



Lucy Ward



Tim Edey



The Home Service






The Dubliners



Don McLean



Ian Campbell



Bill Leader



Malcolm Taylor


PECSAETAN MORRIS – At One With The Bells – Seville House Records SEVCD02

There are always new ways making records. We’ve had ‘sequester a bunch of songwriters in a lonely house and give them a week to write a complete stage show and album’ and now we’re in the midst of ‘record it live off the floor’ – which is pretty much what Bill Leader did forty-odd years ago in his kitchen.

Here we have a new method. Start with a morris side – invariably a multi-talented bunch – add the bands that members are part of and record: dances, songs, tunes, whatever. Pecsaetan Morris are a women’s Cotswold team from Sheffield who have done just that to celebrate their tenth anniversary and what a great idea it is.

There are six dances with musicians Richard Arrowsmith and Jo Maher and the feet and bells of the team. The songs are mostly well-known but none the worse for that. The first is ‘John Ball’, lead by Jess Arrowsmith and featuring members of The Sheffield Folk Chorale who return later for a Sheffield carol (what else?), ‘Sweet Bells’. There is a Sacred Harp hymn, a bit of Burns, Kipling/Bellamy and Utah Phillips as well as traditional favourites. The extra-mural bands include Trinculo and The Melrose Quartet which features Nancy Kerr and James Fagen. Sadly, there is no room for Crucible or Hekety which just shows what a wealth of talent Pecsaetan have to draw on.

At One With The Bells has the freshness and vitality that’s often hard to capture on record and it takes you back to when folk music was something we did just for fun. It’s good to remember that sometimes.

Dai Jeffries

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