Pigeon hole Mishaped Pearls at your peril. The dynamic rising seven piece from London prove with this third album release how seamlessly they can segue from folk to pop to classical and how skilfully they have developed their diverse “other worldly” sound, all with the mesmerising vocals of German-born Manuela Schütte at their heart.
A river runs through Thamesis and no prizes for guessing it is Old Father Thames, which is also the song that opens this 10-track CD. Produced by hot property Gerry Diver (Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee, Christy Moore, Beautiful South) the album is variously big and filmic, haunting and delicate, timeless and highly original with love songs, life songs, shape shifting old English folk songs and a gender switching new take on a Ralph McTell classic.
Mishaped Pearls formed in 2009 as a collaboration between songwriter and multi instrumentalist Ged Flood and multi-lingual mezzo soprano Manuela (pictured on album cover), who loves ancient poetry and writes many of the evocative lyrics.
Ged has penned original songs for the album as well as revisiting old folk songs and plays acoustic and tenor guitars, tenor banjo, mandolin, saz baglama, charango and takes lead vocals on some numbers.
Gerry Diver plays instruments including violin, piano, bass, dulcimer, ukulele and slide guitar while band members Calie Hough (percussion), Andrew Sleightholme, Tom Finigan and Massimo Troiani also contribute. The current live band line-up is completed by newest member Laurel S. Pardue on fiddle who has toured with Sam Lee.
A spellbinding album, Thamesis is released on the Misshapen Pearls label, distributed by Proper Music and will be showcased on live dates throughout 2014, including appearances at Harwich Arts Festival in June, London’s St Pancras Old Church (June 13) and FolkEast Festival in August.
Artists’ website and tour date listings: www.mishapedpearls.org
A brilliantly realised piece of work- the jewel in the crown is the remarkable voice of lead singer Manuela. Flood’s saz-baglama soars over strings on Jimmy, his banjo irresistibly propels Doves; guitars chime, mandolins trill , ukulele and dulcimer plink and plonk and voices harmonise beautifully, everywhere” – fRoots
“At a time when every band describes themselves as unique it’s really refreshing to find one that truly is – they scream originality. Getting folk and classical influences to lie comfortable together in song and arrangement is a real craft – Mishaped Pearls are the only ones that do this well.” Spiral Earth
“A musical palette that captures Influences from folk to pop to classical – a celestial, otherworldy quality, elegant and graceful with Schütte’s crystal vocals – a sound that makes them instantly identifiable” – R2 Magazine
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