What a winter!
After re-locating to the English countryside, it became painfully clear that we had one wood burner to warm the whole house through the most severe winter since 1963! The burner, like a hungry dragon, needed nourishment day and night; so valuable time was spent, seeking, gathering, and sawing wood. Not only did the fire need to be fed regularly, but with sensitivity (damp wood did not catch alight and dry wood burned too fast) – it was quite a responsibility, which could not be neglected and took a lot of coaxing. Although our fire strategies worked, there was little time for much else, so Diamond Seeds was put on the back burner while we sustained life through the cold.
Ella Jo’s winter gigs
Having missed a gig at Bedford Esquires with the Nimblewits, and another at the Hat Factory in Luton, Ella Jo hauled herself to Luton’s Castle Tavern on December 11th. Relieved to see some friendly faces, her gig was like a coming home party! Familiar with the Lutonian banter, Ella Jo hailed the spirit of the crowd and banged her way through some songs without a set list. The anarchic atmosphere in the pub brought out her busking character – the crowd picked up on her cheerfulness and agreed that it had been worth getting out of bed for!
The Castle Tavern gig was arranged by Marianna – the promoter and arranger of Luton Aid, a day of live music held to raise money for charity. Back in the summer of 2010, Ella Jo had played for this event at Luton’s Hat Factory to a very attentive crowd – the character of the audience made her feel as if she was performing in an auditorium! This was a high point in the summer, as Ella Jo felt that audiences were beginning to connect to her performances and enjoy her material as a folk artist….
The ghoul of winter flu and colds hacked our lungs as we spluttered our way through Christmas, and a couple of Ella Jo’s gigs got cancelled…..only a back log of the Peep Show series could cheer her up and things looked better as the New Year rolled in…..Although the winter season isolated us and tested our strength, we were still able to appreciate it’s beauty, and fiddled with our projects whenever our frost bitten fingers thawed a little….
In February Ella Jo met up with the Nimblewits again as she supported them at the Foresters Pub in Bedford. Her gig did not go as she expected….The Nimblewits were using disco lights and the box was placed on the floor to the side of EJ’s performing space. The main lights went out and the disco lights jumped into life. Ella Jo proceeded into her set blinded and distracted, finding it hard to see her set list! In a noisy pub atmosphere this gig was a bit of a challenge – but then, that’s what playing live is all about….
Richard, the drummer of the Nimblewits remembered a song from years ago and requested ‘God Made Television’ – Ella Jo performed these two verses acappella, the first time to an audience for over 20 years – it can be found on her album, ‘Attitude is Everything’…
Her latest gig to date, (March 11th 2011) has been to support Seth Lakeman, when he played at Luton Hat Factory whilst on tour of the UK. Seth Lakeman, from Devon, is an English folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – playing the violin and guitar amongst other instruments. Being nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize it was no surprise that the gig sold out – and Ella Jo played to her largest audience yet….. It was an invigorating experience, with a welcoming audience and good technical support….
Having damaged her thumb five weeks before, and being unable to practice for the gig, she bit the bullet for this one – but she found herself at home with the audience, feeling a connection and getting comfortable to play for forty minutes. Reflecting on those precious moments on stage, she is philosophical :
‘Although the audience want to know the artist, the ultimate relationship lies between the listener and the song’s performance. In that forty minutes the songs were all that mattered. I put my heart into manufacturing these entities of expression, in the moment, to connect to those who were ready to listen. Nothing else mattered as we shared in the music – it seemed that many in the crowd felt my passion and understood. – it was a very special time….Seth Lakeman and his band played a fantastic gig that night and it was a real pleasure to support him, I recommend his music to all those who love feisty folk music!’
Recently released – THC (The Hidden Core) Dark Ambient album is a spin off project by Nostramus. ‘A feast of soundscaped nightmare visions and eclectic journeys. Culled from the darker psychotropic-fuelled imagination of the Big Eye, Bud Brothers and Nostramus’s Steve Spon – edited and re-mastered in 2010 from tracks originally recorded from 1990 – 1996.’
The fantastic ‘Doomsday Dot Com‘ by Nostramus will be the next release on Diamond Seeds – a prophetic gathering of Drum and Bass tunes and samples. After the Japanese earthquake it seems that time has overtaken some of the themes and has left Spon from Nostramus wondering what the reaction will be to his material. He says that all the material on the album pre-dates the horrific events that have burdened Japan. The album is a tapestry with a strong musical current, including samples which expose media hysteria amongst other, lighter themes. The album itself is a comment on the phenomena that shape our early 21st century; times where fear is founded for some, and a plaything for others. He exposes the human responses to dealing with a world that we cannot control including elements of superstition, anger and the need to release stress in a musical whirlwind of joy. Nostramus encompasses all these emotions, waltzing the listener through a reality check – reminding us to question our distorted world, keep our feet on the ground and trust our senses. The delight in this work is the unceasing movement between light and shade, the highs and lows, the scowls and the smiles…..Was Drum and Bass ever supposed to go this deep?
As for Ella Jo, history has inspired her to write an album about the Anglo Saxon era. As no music survives from this time, there is much room to be imaginative and she has invented songs about Anglo Saxon events. This folk album will be named ‘Almost Anglo Saxon’ so that purists will not be offended, and she has already had a lot of fun composing songs for this project…With a handful of songs left to write, recording should begin in late 2011.
Exposure for new musicians
People may be aware that we want to support up and coming musicians especially in this time when the industry is so difficult to break into. We are pleased that Matthew Adams has been in touch with us, and coming soon is a review of this up and coming folk artist….
Good News about our album prices
Last but not least, we have recently revised the prices of our albums when purchasing physical CDs from the supplier, www.kunaki.com
You can now obtain each album for approx £10 – inclusive of shipping – making them a great bargain for music lovers!