Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Music Questionnaire. No 4 -Kate Waterfield

Kate Waterfield is a vocalist, violinist and guitarist. She has sung with several bands and composed music for theatre. Her vocal work has seen her taking an experimental "extended technique" approach to European folk influences, the results can be heard on her CD "Runa Megin"- her hypnotic collaboration with Georgian guitarist Zura Dzagnidze, which imagines Meredith Monk transposed to a Scandanavian folk club.

When not performing her own music, Kate is often organising music events for young people. She also added fiddle to the "rustic" version of "Half Empty" on my own "Pinhole" EP.


Who are you?

Kate Waterfield

Where are you based?

I work in London and live near Southend. Originally from Great Wyrley in Staffordshire.

What instruments do you play?

Violin, Voice, guitar.

What is your current or most recent project?

I’m still working on promoting my first album, released a year ago. The album is a folk/world cross, heavily influenced by Scandinavian folk. The music is an exploration through improvisation of the layers of meaning surrounding nine runic symbols. You can find out more about it and hear samples here.

Name a record that had a big effect on you in your youth-

The musicals of Stephen Sondheim were a heavy focus for me during my teens. ‘Sunday in the Park With George’ is an excellent example of his work.

What was the last record/CD you played-

The Sophtware Slump by Grandaddy. (brilliant band live)

List three records or CDs by artists other than yourself we should all hear-

1. ‘Whatever and Ever Amen’ by Ben Folds Five, because when he’s not being irreverent, Ben’s a damn fine pianist and songwriter.
2. ‘Supper’ by Smog, one of the best performers I’ve ever seen live. Saw him perform this album at the Union Chapel, wonderful.
3. The recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto by Jacqueline du Pre , poignant because Daniel Barenboim was conducting.

Describe a live performance that had a big effect on you-

Sounds corny, but going to see ‘ Joseph at the Birmingham Hippodrome aged 13 was the reason I started singing.

Your favourite live venue-

Symphony Hall in Birmingham is pretty amazing both visually and acoustically.

What's the strangest place you've performed in/at?

In the year 2000 I sang two songs as part of a promenade performance on the Thames path walk in East Greenwich between Greenwich and the Dome. The weather was horrific, we were cold, wet and miserable, I had the flu, and we had no amplification!

Tell me about your worst experience as a performer-

As a young person I belonged to the local youth choir. It was our end of term performance, and halfway through I started feeling ill. I didn’t know what to do, and felt horrified at the prospect of having to walk out of the hall we were singing in, in front of all those people. Ironically, that would have been the lesser of two evils, as I ended up doing something far more embarrassing and promptly threw up all over the piano player! Oh dear….

Tell me about a great experience as a performer-

Playing ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ with the teacher’s band at the end of a music residential. We all got to pretend to be rock stars, and the kids thought we were cool!

Is improvisation important to you?

It is through improvisation that most of my writing is informed. Some of the best ideas come about during a stream of consciousness type moment, although you sometimes have to wade through a lot of rubbish before finding it on a bad day!

Name three heros or heroines-

Growing up Harrison Ford was a great film hero, although his light has dimmed somewhat. Wonderwoman was a great heroine as a kid, I remember being told to stop spinning around in the butchers, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to watch the show later on. From a song writing perspective, Ben Folds is up there.

What is your favourite city?

Prague. I spent a magical Christmas there with my partner recently.

A couple of favourite books-

‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen - I have a great affection for this book, and try to leave a couple of years in between re-reading, just so that I can bask in the comfort of the familiar and brilliant. ‘An Evil Cradling’ by Brian Keenan – how strange to encounter a work of strength, beauty and lyricism within the confines of a book about confinement of the worst kind.

A couple of favourite films-

There are so many films I love, it’s too difficult to answer, however… ‘The Piano’ is an important film for me because the music is so integral to the themes and moods of the film.

What makes you laugh?

General silliness.

Is there a pop song you feel sentimental about, and can you name it?

Anything by A-ha reminds me of an excited 13 year old at the Birmingham NEC way back when! So I guess ‘Take on Me’ would be the one.


Thanks Kate
the music questionnaires are an ongoing series

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