Jo Freya Solo
…true, to a certain degree. I am often booked by clubs who have a ‘traditional’ stereotype label. They book me because of my legacy and background and often they are as dreadfully frustrated by the labels as I am. They are always keen to say ‘anything goes’ – or almost anything – and as what I do is live, is not noisy and has firm groundings in traditional and contemporary music, I can live up to many reviews which say ‘there’s something here for everyone’.
It is what it says on the tin, my duo with my sister. I had better explain that I was originally Jo Fraser but changed my name when I joined Equity as they already had a Jo Fraser, Freya was the nearest I could get.
We don’t gig very often but when we do it’s lovely. There is something special about sibling voices and we play tunes as well as sing.
The only reason we don’t do more is that Fi works full time and I am torn in many pieces as it is but we have never actually stopped and there is an intention to do a Fraser Sisters CD to add to ‘The Fraser Sisters’ (sadly no longer available) and ‘Going Around’.
Old Swan Band
Aah … the band I have been in since I was 14. Still nothing to beat it, really. The driving fiddles are provided by Fi Fraser (my sister), Paul Burgess and Flos Headford. I am joined up the brass end by Neil Gledhill on bass sax and John Adams on trombone. Then, driving the rhythm, we have Heather Horsley on piano and Martin Brinsford on drums.?
This band made 3 albums in the 1970s… and then nothing for a very long while. More recently we have Swan Upmanship and the latest, Swan For The Money. This is driving, joyful dance music and it’s hardly surprising that the reviews say ‘They’ve still got it’, as it never left us.?
It’s an impressive sound and an impressive size … an 8 piece that gets those dancers' feet lifting off the floor. This band is an easy ride for me in the sense that it feels like home.
Each year new material becomes the main part of the shows but old favourites have to be revisited as there are many beautiful carols that are only sung by us. The repertoire is either sung in a cappella four part harmony or accompanied on various instruments including piano, soprano sax, fiddle, accordion and traditional flutes.
Every year several people say - "Christmas starts with you” and they seek out a place to come and see us often willing to travel far to do it.
Our CD Hark Hark was described in EDS as “ A recording for life, not just for Christmas. As good as that.” and fRoots: “ A seasonal frolic with a special blend of voices that is lusty in both character and attack. Yes Hark Hark fulfils its function, furnishing us with a feelgood festive feast” - These comments aptly describe the live experience. Contact Jo to book.
Where have we been I hear you ask.?
Well there have been illnesses – and a number of babies – but we have never stopped and don’t really intend to. So, if you run dances in your area, how about it? There is me, plus Alice Kinloch, who is truly impressive on tuba and trombone, Jo May on percussion, Heather Horsley on keyboard, Linda Game and Fi Fraser on fiddles (although Fi plays clarinet too) and Jackie Allen playing a bit of fiddle and some sax.?
We do our own calling, thus ensuring that the dances fit with the music. We have a party on stage and that tends to communicate to the audience.