Navigator Records recently announced the signing of Bella Hardy and the subsequent release of her new album on 18th April. Entitled ‘Songs Lost & Stolen’, it combines the traditional styles and ballad forms that have also been at the heart of her two previous albums with an added gift for poetry and Angela Carter-inspired twisted tales. Consisting of 12 self-written songs that touch on both the fantastical, storytelling elements of Kate Bush and the lovelorn songwriting craft of Carole King, Bella’s lyrics range in subject matter from fairy tales to English working class history via childhood nostalgia, myths, murder and the human condition. At the centre of all this is her soaring and captivating voice, inhabiting her characters and spinning her stories with an equal balance of strength and sensitivity. The album is produced by Mattie Foulds of The Burns Unit.
Early reviews for Songs Lost & Stolen’ have been very positive:
“A fine traditional singer and fiddle player, this is an impressive set.” **** THE GUARDIAN
“Quite a dramatic advance from her first two albums…the core appeal of any Bella Hardy album is her voice. Full, unveiled, committed, uncontrived, persuasive, passionate, empowering and utterly wonderful” fRoots
Having grown up in the Peak District area of Derbyshire, Bella earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from York University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Newcastle. It was while studying at the latter that she assembled the songs for her 2007, self-released debut album ‘Night Visiting’. The album garnered rave reviews for her stark and haunting renditions of traditional songs and tunes, and her own composition ‘Three Black Feathers’ was nominated for a BBC Folk Award (and was also covered by Jim Moray on his album ‘Low Culture’). In 2008, Bella performed solo in the middle of a packed Royal Albert Hall as part of the first ever Folk Prom, which was broadcast on BBC4 and Radio 3. She was also asked to sing the ‘Coventry Carol’ for composer Howard Goodall’s BBC2 documentary The Truth About Carols. And by 2010 she’d made it onto BBC1, performing her own arrangement of Psalm 23 on no lesser an institution than Songs of Praise.
Her 2009 album ‘In The Shadows of Mountains’ won plaudits for its original settings of familiar folk songs and her own increasingly accomplished and eclectic material. Drawing comparisons with Lennon/McCartney and James Taylor, the album attracted several five-star reviews, with Mojo magazine describing her as “More than a new generation folk revivalist….Her potential is massive”.
In 2010 she featured alongside new label-mate Alasdair Roberts, as well as 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 is appearing on several BBC radio shows to coincide with the release of ‘Songs Lost & Stolen’.
For more concert info and other Bella related news visit her website at: www.bellahardy.com