Janet Russell
New CD now available: HARCD 052 Love Songs and Fighting Talk

Janet's PictureJanuary 2014– News

Happy New Year – I’m fairly pleased it’s a new year as we’ve had some health problems and I crashed the car on one of my many journeys to and from different bits of work in late December! However, nice new(er) car standing at the gate, and just had a really lovely new year session at the Kings Arms in Silsden on Saturday 4th, so all is well. I hope you are all feeling the same sort of positivity. Speaking of which, I will be participating in a “Music for Maggie Boyle” concert on Wednesday 22nd January with Sisters Unlimited, Steve Tilston and Pete Morton, amongst others at The Musician, Clyde Street, Leicester, LE1 2BG. Maggie has been diagnosed with cancer, but she has had successful surgery and is following a strict diet. She’s a complete inspiration in her determination to beat this condition. Let’s hope we make loads of money on that night, as other benefit concerts have done, and we can help her do just that.

The choirs in Burnley, Silsden, and Settle were very busy doing seasonal stuff in December, - the Dickensian Festival in Grassington, Hellifield and Settle stations, raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance amongst other things, and singing for local craftspeople selling their wares on stalls and markets, and diners at the lovely Bull at Broughton. Now in the new year Silsden Singers will be helping the celebrations for Silsden’s refurbished town hall on February 8th on the main stage, and on the 26th of February I’m doing a solo gig for Ryburn 3 Step at their wonderful Folk Club at The Works, Hollins Mill Lane, Sowerby Bridge.

At the beginning of March Sisters Unlimited take to the road again to celebrate International Women’s Day in Northumberland on Thursday 6th, Sheffield Friday 7th, London Saturday 8th and hopefully back up in Yorkshire on the 9th (tbc) – see tour dates for details.

On April 6th I have been invited to do a harmony workshop on peace songs for the Foxlowe Arts Centre and Leek Quakers – I’m really looking forward to this because I can honestly say I could do a whole weekend of peace songs. Easy. And you’d like them all! I’m also doing a concert spot in the evening, so please come along and support these lovely people, it’s an independently run arts centre and they work really hard to put on an interesting programme. See you there.

JigJaw will be getting together at the end of April in Kent for a private do, and brushing up our repertoire again for a gig with the lovely Addingham Ceilidh Club at the beginning of May. If you’re into dancing as well as singing, do come along and see us – we’ll be doing workshops as well as singing for a dance.

There’s a little solo Scottish tour in the offing for November, still working on that but will keep you posted.
All the very best for now, hope to see you somewhere over the next 3 or 4 months, by which time, I hope I’ll have more news for you.

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Janet Russell
Singer, vocal workshop leader, arranger.

Janet first made a name for herself on the folk circuit in the ‘80’s as a young singer songwriter writing with hard-edged humour about issues affecting women. Her “Secretary’s Song” was the most requested song on “Folk on 2” in 1987/8, and “Breastfeeding Baby in the Park” has been taken up by the pro-breastfeeding lobby nationally and internationally. Her work on Scottish traditional material with Scottish singer Christine Kydd has received huge critical acclaim, particularly in her native Scotland, and in the US.

Janet has now worked on the folk scene professionally for more than 20 years, starting in Edinburgh pubs, in 1980/81, and has experience of folk clubs, arts centres, concert halls, church halls and village halls of all sorts and sizes in the UK, Europe, and the USA. Throughout this time Janet has worked with other musicians, such as Sisters Unlimited colleagues Sandra Kerr, Rosie Davis and Peta Webb, and Scottish singing partner Christine Kydd, and also toured the show “Take These Chains from My Heart”, written by partner Jim Woodland with storyteller Taffy Thomas. Janet worked as musical director for Mikron Theatre for ten years, and is recognised as an accomplished vocal harmony workshop leader. She is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners’ Network and a director of Yorkshire Dales Workshops, “promoting participation in folk arts”. At the end of 2001 Janet produced the first English performances of “The Christmas Truce” with Coope Boyes and Simpson. “Well done. Professional, moving, beautifully sung.... Best wishes - Roy” (from Roy Bailey) a show which received a standing ovation at the Sheffield Raise Your Banners Festival in November 2001. The show ran successfully again in November 2002. In March 2005 the same team put on two performances of “Hearts of Coal” celebrating the lives of miners and mining communities with the Roses and Thorns choir, a magnificent group of 80 voices from across northern England.

Janet leads three community choirs, in Silsden, Burnley, and Settle and continues to perform and to facilitate voice and harmony workshops whilst bringing up her two sons with partner Jim Woodland.

Solo recordings include:
"Love Songs and Fighting Talk" - Harbourtown Records, HARCD 052
“Gathering the Fragments” – Harbourtown Records, HARC 003
“Bright Shining Morning?” – Harbourtown Records, HARCD 026

With other artists
“Janet Russell and Christine Kydd” – Greentrax CDTRAX 011
“Dancin’Chantin’” – Greentrax CDTRAX 077
“Take These Chains from my Heart” a narrative tape with songs about a performer’s fightback from a stroke. With Taffy Thomas, storyteller. TT Tapes 006
“The Stones of Callanish” (various artists) DOG 005/6
“No Limits” with Sisters Unlimited, – Harbourtown Records, HARCD 013
“No Bed of Roses” with Sisters Unlimited – Fellside FE104

“The most striking feature of Janet Russell’s arresting voice is a lower register whose distinctive power and edge make dramatic listening” Tony Rose, The Guardian

Recordings available from Harbourtown Records:

New CD now available:
HARCD 052 Love Songs and Fighting Talk

HARCD 003 Gathering The Fragments - Previously cassette and vinyl only - now re mastered for CD and re-released August 2005
HARCD 026 Bright Shining Morning?

and with Sisters Unlimited, (Peta Webb, Sandra Kerr, Rosie Davis, Janet Russell)
HARCD 013 No Limits

See details in the catalogue

Janet's Tour Schedule

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