SUPERB REVIEW IN THE SUNDAY TIMES!
— Clive Davis (@CliveDavisUK) February 12, 2017
Album of the Week in Event Magazine Mail on Sunday 4* review 19th Feb
‘Fresh, subtle and startling’ The Guardian
Half page in The Telegraph – it wasn’t as dramatic as the title implied !! (inevitably)
Hope you enjoy this showreel from the first performance of the album in Bristol at Rise Records
Guest on BBC Radio 2 – Clare Teal show 19th Feb, with four tracks played over two weeks
Click here to hear what Tom had to say
This is what Tom said on his show when he played Kate for the 2nd time
You can hear Kate talking to Jo Good here
‘The reliance on voice alone is far from limiting and Kate demonstrates skill and dexterity, accessing a rich palette of sounds and tones. The vocals dance between bright layered sounds suggestive of African spirituals to a softer, soulful quality carried by sonorous chords’. Lee Cuff, Fatea Magazine
Although aspects of the album are light enough to dip into to satisfy a certain mood, there is a great depth here that offers itself to a much more intense exploration.
Thanks to MusicMusingsandsuch for this particularly indepth analysis and review:
Click here to read the review in Music Musings and Such
‘What I love about Dimbleby is her confidence and inventive approach to music. Songbirds is an album full of sensational moments and gorgeous vocals’.
Here’s some more excerpts : ‘profound and awe-inspiring… ‘Songbirds is the album we should all take the time to listen to this year. Sure, there will be bigger-hyped records in the mainstream but few underground albums have such a fascinating sound…. Songbirds is that vocal-only album that suggests a rare and peerless talent…. striking, majestic voice that is, if anything, at its peak here. Never has she sounded more graceful and entrancing as she does on Songbirds…. It is testament to Kate Dimbleby that she is able, so far along in her career, to sound new and reborn…Songbirds is a wonderful collection everyone should have.’
Thank you to Paul Andrew Mansell for choosing Songbirds as his Album of the Week on Marlow FM Music Bus Show – Sat 11th Feb
— Paul ‘Muso’ Mansell (@MagicBusRadio) February 11, 2017
Thanks to Tracey Edges for making Kate Artist of the Week on her Siren FM Sunday Girl show on Sunday 5th Feb
You can hear the researched and in depth feature here :
Thanks to Runnin On Empty Blog for this feature
‘Songbirds is a masterpiece that deserves every award going and I hope the industry delivers…a capella is something we haven’t had in the mainstream for many years and by layering her vocals Kate creates an exciting backing ambience that dances around and cradles her main vocal…an absolute corker…a whole other level of genius’ Runnin on empty blog
Another review in, thanks to Liz Franklin, Blues and Roots Radio. Liz’s Folk Garden Show
I have just had the pleasure (I don’t use the phrase lightly) of listening to the new album, Songbirds, by Kate Dimbleby and I must say it is a revelation. Kate is, of course, a member of the famous broadcasting dynasty which can be a drawback as well as an advantage. The advantages are the obvious opening of doors. The disadvantages are probably more. The potential dismissal of any work, un-heard, just because the belief is that nepotism has got you in. Preconceptions, the pressure to be like other family members and the expectations that affects anything you do.
That being said, Kate has ploughed her own furrow and good for her and for us. The album is beautifully conceived as an in depth look at life, love and emotions which Kate illustrates vividly with striking phrases which make you think. ‘Imagine the noise we could make with our voices if we let it out’ is a line from Musical Boxes. About keeping our voices hidden from others. ‘Life is’, although short, is one of my favourite tracks. A love song, it could be a goodby love song, but it has one of the most moving lines I have heard: “And when both of us are over, there’ll be no-one left to know how deeply I loved you so I’d better let you know’ really resonated. ‘These things they will come’ would not be out of place on an album by any early American female blues performer.
Kate provides all the vocal backing herself and thus the album is laced with some exquisite harmonies. This technique is one we are familiar with if we have listened to the likes of Bobby McFerrin with his style of jazz driven a capella song backed by the layers of beat and harmony provided solely by the artist themselves. And on the few tracks that have some small instrumentation, Kate also provides that herself in the main, which with the self penned songs making it very much a statement of Kate’s individuality and assertion of her self and her abilities.
Yes I have my favourites but this is not the place for me to say which. It is a place to urge you to listen to this album and I defy you not to enjoy it and listen again and again.
First review in for Songbirds from Kevin Hall’s Music Moments blog
Full Text here:
I had the pleasure of listening to Kate Dimbleby’s new album Songbirds over the weekend, thanks to the kind folks at Folkstock.
While I hadn’t heard much about her music before, I became an instant fan after listening to the album. It has so many unique tracks, bringing across her powerful and soulful voice, that brings to mind blues, jazz and reggae style music, with just her voice alone hitting all the right notes.
Stand out tracks for me have to be “Limbo,” “Harder Than You Think,” and “Happy,” but each one is more potent and spine-tingling good than the last, and gives your ears a proper good work out. Kate brings to mind the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Joss Stone, but is still distinct and will make you want to listen to her previous albums too.
The polish and love that must have gone in to making this album shows, and while some of the tracks are shorter than others, that is not necessarily a bad thing. You will all no doubt have your favourites, but it is one catered not just for fans, but for newcomers alike.
If you haven’t experienced this kind of music before, I would heartily recommend getting the album when it is released on 23rd February. She is also planning a tour in 2017, and this is a voice that would be brilliant to hear live.
Check out her website in the meantime for up to date news and info – http://www.katedimbleby.com/
With a soulful and distinct voice, all on her own, Kate Dimbleby’s new album is one to watch out for in 2017 and contender for album of the year.
KATE DIMBLEBY presents…KATE DIMBLEBY!
Folkstock Records are proud to have recorded and to be releasing SONGBIRDS, Kate Dimbleby’s unique album of eleven original songs written and performed by her voice alone.
These tracks are recorded by Lauren Deakin Davies with no other musicians – Kate layers her voice, with techniques inspired by learning with vocal virtuoso Bobby McFerrin.
Kate’s “soul” songs have an improvised feel that soar above the hubbub by breaking away from conventional instrumentation and song structure, elevating the listener into a world where anything might happen.
Kate says, “I wanted to go in with just my voice and without instruments so that you don’t get any of the associations that usually spring up, ‘Oh, it’s that kind of thing’. It allows for an element of surprise and fun – room for people to interact by stepping into the space where the instruments would normally be – even joining in.”
And what she has created, with producer Lauren Deakin Davies, might surprise you.
Encouraged by Helen Meissner’s Folkstock Records, a small independent label which has a reputation for celebrating the female voice, Kate has been able to distill her personal journey into an unconventional recording and accompanying show, unbound by traditional genre classifications.
Incorporating blues, jazz and reggae undertones, picked up during Kate’s career, these songs are unlike anything currently being released in the contemporary music scene.
Kate’s wit and charisma, gained through 25 years of live performance, comes through strongly in these grounded self-penned tracks which seep into your subconscious and tell the tale of someone searching for their own story and inviting you to share the journey.
Coming from a family of broadcasters with a mother who sang opera over breakfast, Kate says, “I wanted to embrace that heritage but find my own voice, and most importantly, encourage others to step out of their received stories and find theirs”
For the SONGBIRDS live tour, Kate has teamed up with director Katy Carmichael and Bristol’s Theatre Damfino to create a warm and vibrant one-woman show. Choosing an eclectic range of venues such as churches, art galleries and a spiegeltent, Kate tells her story of finding her voice, singing a capella with only a vocal looper to help her interact directly with her audience. The result is a unique and engaging audience experience, different at each performance.
“Songbirds is about the voices we keep locked up inside. About the need for connection – right here, right now. And if it goes ‘wrong’, so what? I’ve realised that the place where things go wrong is where we find the magic.”
The album SONGBIRDS, will be released on Folkstock Records on 23rd February with a launch at the NOW gallery on the Greenwich Peninsula and will be available at all the dates on the UK wide tour which also starts in February.
ABOUT KATE DIMBLEBY
Originally classically trained, Kate has released five solo albums and toured the world with her one-woman shows about other female singers, selling out the Festival Hall and Ronnie Scotts and working with some of the best musicians in the country. But it has taken 20 years since her first album for the critically acclaimed performer to find, and subsequently share what she is really about.
After a move to Bristol with her family 5 years ago, she studied with Bobby McFerrin in New York and taught herself how to use a looper to recreate the instrumental lines on her previously released original material. This proved so rewarding that she wrote songs specifically to be performed entirely by voice alone, a capella, and let herself go. Songbirds is the result.
Kate is the daughter of broadcaster David Dimbleby and writer Josceline Dimbleby, who trained as a classical singer.
Reviews of Kate Dimbleby’s Previous Shows and Albums
“A shimmering vocal versatility… she has the musical talent and jewel-eyed confidence to guarantee an audience a good time” London Evening Standard
“Kate has an intensity of feeling combined with a freedom of spirit that brings to mind legendary singers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, with a modern feel” Marion Montgomery
“With a voice of pure velvet, she has a magnetic stage presence …and captivates her audience.” Glasgow Herald
“A marvellous storyteller with a golden voice ” Upon the Sacred Stage, New York
* * * * * Sunday Times Top Ten albums of the year for Beware of Young Girls : The Songs of Dory Previn
WATCH/LISTEN – SONGBIRDS Scratch shows at the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol:
Video filmed by an audience member, of These Things, They Will Come:
HOW THIS ALBUM CAME TO LIFE
‘I had stopped touring my show about Dory Previn and was thinking, what next? Having moved cities and done a week’s singing in America with Bobby McFerrin, I had been playing with all these new ideas of acapella singing, improvisation with the audience as well as writing songs and occasionally sharing these on Facebook. Someone whose path had crossed mine a couple of years before, Helen Meissner from Folkstock Records, got in touch after listening to one such share, asking “do you write your own material?” I sent her about 30 tracks. I had given up on any label being interested in me. Thought I was too “out of the box” so it was really lovely to have her support and interest. From there, it just grew. I went to spend a day with Lauren in the studio thinking, well, it might be nothing but I’ll give it a go. Something about the trust between us created a really unique space to get out what I needed to. Katy Carmichael, a wonderful Bristol theatre director got involved with the live show and it was like I had this brand new all-female, all-nurturing team who believed in me. Absolutely the opposite of my first record making experience – an all-male environment with some wonderful musicians – but a place I felt I had “to prove” myself every moment, rather than “be” myself.
It’s funny saying this because given my performing experience, the musicians I have worked with, my background and reviews etc., you would think I would be pretty confident. And I am, in a live environment. I love the vulnerability of live performance – and exploring that. But I had always struggled to match that on record’.
‘Every song on the album was recorded pretty much as live and when I perform live it will sound different every time. Because it’s just me. In a different venue, with a different audience at a different time. There’s a vocal looper but no special tricks.
We have got SO good at recreating things to perfection.
But I wanted to give a different message – one that isn’t about perfection or about certain people being allowed to make noise and others not. If we listen, we hear more. And we should sing what we hear – not try to be something we are not.
That way we communicate authentically rather than recycle the same old stuff. At it’s heart, the idea that you can fail, sing a bum note, and carry on because actually, that’s life. You sing bum notes, you fail and it takes you to places you wouldn’t know existed. That is what I hope I can do. And I look forward to exploring with my future audience’.
ABOUT THE ALBUM
‘Some of the tracks on this album date back to 2003 when I had left London and “the rat race” and gone to live on Vancouver Island in Canada with my new husband in search of something – I wasn’t really sure what. I had had excruciating back pain on and off since around the age of 18 and my performing career – including in Feb 2003, a solo performance to a sold out audience at the Royal Festival Hall – seemed to only make it worse. I knew I needed to get away and get back to something simple. I was lucky – I think, without the love of my husband, I would never have allowed myself such indulgence.
But it was the best break I could have taken. There, I found nature. As a city girl, wilderness made me frightened. In fact, everything made me frightened. And to be alone in the forest with no-one for miles was both challenge and a liberation. I started to listen more acutely – to every bird, every tree creaking – and tuning into those sounds, was a kind of meditation I guess – away from the urban chatter I was used to. And the chatter of my own head’.
LIMBO. The first song I ever wrote. After my first real heartbreak. I sat on a bench by the river in Hammersmith thinking “this is a really horrible feeling – this kind of emptiness, lack of something. I need to move it and I need to move it by singing about it”. In a way, that was the first time I understood that singing was therapeutic for me. It connected me with parts not reached by anything else.
LOVE CAN BE EASY. A much more recent song but similarly, it came all in one day. We were camping by the sea and my daughter started tapping out a rhythm on the car bonnet, added to the sound of the sea and sky, it was incredibly peaceful and I thought, why do we never sing about the quiet moments? There’s always so much drama.
HAPPY. A follow on from my work with Bobby McFerrin in 2014, I joined an online group of musicians/singers called the Society for Spontaneous Singing. One of our first tasks was to sing a song (spontaneously) that summed up an emotion. This was it.
MUSICAL BOXES. Has been going around in my head for years and was the basis for my live show. The idea that we are all little musical boxes with our own themes and resonances but we just don’t listen enough to really appreciate each other. In the show, I liken it to the dawn chorus. If you stop and listen, there is no judgement to be had – every bird is offering up something totally unique. It’s a note to myself really. Listen more deeply and stop judging what you hear! This track will be the single, released on 3rd Feb 2017.
LIFE IS. When I wrote this, I ran to my husband excited and said “I’ve written a song for you….and for my Dad” Which as you can imagine,was a bit confusing for him. But it’s what songs are about – they start as one thing – the opening I wrote at the piano in my Dad’s house and was very much thinking about my childhood – and then the rest of it I wrote back home in Bristol with the sort of uplifting enthusiasm that is also a bit childlike really. But it’s what I feel a lot. Like, why do we not tell people how much they matter more often, why is it so hard to appreciate people/this life. Let’s not wait until we’re dead. Let’s do it. NOW.
I managed to finish the idea just before I went into the studio – which matches its urgency really.
AT OUR BEST. Silly, marching hymn. I wrote a few of these. Ditties to keep me going through the day and remind me to connect and be vulnerable.
WHATEVER. First song I wrote in Bristol. Again, the simplicity is kind of embarrassing but I wanted people to sing along. And when I first performed it, I got the whole audience singing – they were my band. It’s where the live stuff started.
THESE THINGS, THEY WILL COME. Ooof. This song. It runs very deep for me. It came out of that time on Vancouver Island and I was struggling with a lot of things – trying to get rid of the pain and realizing the pain was about more than just physiology, that it was pain of not feeling myself in my own skin. But every time I walked in the forest and connected, it would ease and so I started to have the sense that I could stop holding myself together so much and relax. That there was a world of support out there if only I would let it in… The bass hums came as I was driving – matching the hum of the car engine. And then it was just the simple refrain. Like so many of my songs, it was written as a sort of personal reassurance that I want to share with others.
HARDER THAN YOU THINK. Thanks to the Society of Spontaneous Singing again! “Write a song about/while Walking”. Discuss.
WALK AWAY. written on a hill in Sussex. Came out all in one go – pretty much as recorded. About finding intimacy – primarily with yourself. And how if you find that, everything else can change, you see things differently. I don’t presume it’s easy – it’s an ongoing challenge, to stop reacting immediately and to see things more clearly – but it has been an ongoing challenge I feel lucky to have embraced through so many brilliant teachers I have met – from the Alexander Technique world, from the singing world, even some spiritual teachers – because it makes everything else feel less terrifying. We all need that.
SONG FOR A HILL. I was using “Band in a Box” in Canada because I needed a way to record ideas for my music and I had no idea about anything more sophisticated. This version came from a mixture of electronic sounds and sounds I captured when back in London. I worked with a brilliant indie musician Jay Fisher and was intrigued by the concept of “field” recordings mixed with electronica. The singing line came to me on the same hill in Sussex.
Hills are inspiration to me. A place to look at the world differently’.
‘This album traces my journey. It is my sixth studio album but the first which I can regard as entirely ‘me’. Everything laid bare. I hope it inspires other people to find their own voice. Thank you for taking the time to listen.’ Kate Dimbleby
If you have any questions please email Helen Meissner at Folkstock Records – email@example.com