Are you from Norfolk?
I was born and grew up in Norwich and have lived here for much of my life. My husband Cliff and I, and our daughter, did spend four years living in Tuscany, where I studied for a year at the Siena Jazz Institute. Coming back to Norwich again reconnected us with some wonderfully supportive musicians – essential for developing our recent musical project Song Noir.
What do you enjoy about living here?
Each time I return, Norwich is more vibrant. I like the juxtaposition of historical architecture and new lively cafés and shops. It’s quirky yet there’s an ease to it as well – I like being able to walk or cycle into the pedestrianised city centre. I love UEA, Cinema City and the art college – varied places that bring positive energy. The nearby North Norfolk coast allows dream space and has a strong sense of the elements.
Where are your favourite places in Suffolk and Norfolk to spend time in the autumn and winter?
West Runton woods, with its sheltered walks and blackberry-picking, and the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads or the muddy creeks at Stiffkey, where you can canoe and enjoy moments of stillness and discovery. The Holkham to Wells walk is an exhilarating favourite all year round – and wonderful in the winter when followed by comforting fireside seats at the Victoria Inn. We also love spending time at UEA when it snows – and going sledging!
Tell us about Song Noir?
Song Noir began five years ago and is a musical duo that can be more! We use vocals, saxophone, flute, keyboards and samples but can add more live musicians to the mix when it’s right for the gig. We play with an MPC (music production centre). This instrument, also used by DJs and hip hop and RnB artists, can give some satisfying, deep and contemporary sounds to improvise with.
How would you describe your music?
The music shifts from iconic jazz ballads and swing to more contemporary sounds such as soul, reggae and RnB. We provide music for events such as parties, art exhibition private views and intimate café bars. We also collaborate on projects with rappers, poets, visual artists, dancers and those involved in theatre and film as we do each month at our community project the First Wednesday Club.
How long have you been performing together and individually?
We have spent decades playing live music – firstly in the 1980s, with the Mangoes, a local ska band where Cliff and I met. Then we joined in the jazz and blues jam sessions at Boswell’s, in Tombland, Norwich, in the 1990s. This was followed by involvement in the Boswell’s Big Band, and the Saturday live dance nights there. Then Cliff and I ran the Jazz and Blues Project at Norwich Arts Centre from 2000 to 2007. This offered exciting jam nights and workshops, with guests like Pee Wee Ellis from the James Brown Band.
What do you think about the music scene in general in Norfolk and Suffolk?
Alive and creative! We meet and collaborate with talented artists who are both established and emerging, and who play, among other types of music, folk, Latin, African jazz and hip hop.
What would your perfect night out in Norwich be?
The relaxed atmosphere of the Workshop for an aperitif followed by a film at the arty Cinema City – and perhaps a satisfying glass of red wine at the Dining Rooms bar – or a 3D sensory experience at the Odeon, on Riverside.
For vocal and performance teaching or group workshops visit www.songnoir.com/findyourvoice