A Minute With-British folk singer Hardy on delving into the past

Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:22am EST
 
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By Claire Milhench

LONDON (Reuters) - Fiddle player and songwriter Bella Hardy has been in the vanguard of the British folk revival of the last few years, with six albums under her belt and numerous award nominations, including BBC Radio 2's Folk Singer of the Year.

Hardy has been hailed as a talent to watch since her 2007 debut album "Night Visiting", and in 2012 she won BBC Radio 2's Folk Award for Best Original Song for "The Herring Girl".

Far from resting on her laurels, however, she is planning a tour of her 30 favorite venues to mark her 30th birthday next year and celebrate her work to date before beginning afresh.

"I've always been the youngest in all the things I've done," she told Reuters by phone from a Stafford churchyard while on her Christmas tour. "As a teenager I was the youngest in a band called The Pack. My nickname was 'Baby Pack'."

Turning 30 seemed like a good time to take stock with a tour that would allow her to revisit old material, she said. "I'll just pick some of my favorite songs and tie a ribbon round them. Then I can look to what's coming next."

Her Folk Singer of the Year nomination comes on the back of her well-received album "Battleplan" with her self-penned works growing in confidence and emotional depth. And although Hardy has no plans to release an album next year, she is already relishing writing new material.

"I've been doing a lot of experimenting with different sounds and different approaches to the way I make my music. It's lovely just to have the freedom and time to develop."

Hardy works with a changing lineup of musicians to create a different feel and tone for her arrangements, from the stripped-back minimalism of some earlier work to recording and performing with a full backing band, The Midnight Watch.   Continued...