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onal German music of her grand- mother who she recalls playing the accordion in the kitchen when she was little, and the songs and stories she has inherited from her father’s side in Athenry, County Galway. You may have deduced that Heidi and I are strong advocates of au- tonomy and as such, recorded our debut album “Silent June” on the No Masters label http://www.noma- sters.co.uk - a co-operative based in the North which is run by its mem- bers not bosses. We were introdu- ced to them by folk singer Jo Freya and also the fabulous Chumbawam- ba with whom we were touring at that time. They knew we wanted to record an album together, and that we were reluctant to sign to a big label, so it just seemed an obvious choice to become part of No Masters. That was about eighteen months ago and recording started in earnest on our album in about September 2009. Looking back, I can’t quite believe that we managed to record everything but the string quartet at home in our little living room. We wanted to record the album oursel- ves and so took it upon ourselves to save and save and finally buy some fancy microphones, protools, an apple mac and get on with it! Lear- ning how to use the equipment was a steep learning curve, but with help from Richard Evans from Real- world studios http://realworldstu- dios.com/ and Neil Ferguson from Chumba, we managed to get some good quality recordings, though we did have to turn off the central he- ating, fridge and anything else that hummed...Neil mixed and mastered the album at his studio in Leeds with help from us two gobby women and the lovely Jude Abbott and her fabu- lous veggie grub.


If you buy the album and flick through the booklet, you’ll notice from the photos that we both have a strong image. We like to wear dap- per suits, slick our hair back and perhaps challenge gender stereo- types a little. The very wonderful Casey Orr took our photographs in front of a burning piano in a car park


Bright Yound Folk Sessions O‘Hooley & Tidow singing Spancil Hill


in Leeds, with ladies of the night watching in curiosity from the side of the road. It was a real piano that we set on fire especially for our photo shoot, but for those of you that fear a piano was hurt in the making of our album, I assure you the piano was full of woodworm and needed to be cremated. Heidi got a burnt neck for her trouble but she reckons it was worth it to be part of such a ritual.


Being on a small label has many advantages, including having regular co-op meetings with plenty of tea and biccies. The other members have been do- ing this music lark much longer than us and we’ve had great advice from the likes of Coope, Boyes & Simpson, Ray Hearne, Jo Freya, and Chumbawamba to help guide us through the many pitfalls and decisions you have to make. Hopefully one day, we’ll be able to help newer recruits with what we’ve lear- ned along the way.


Our album Silent June is not an album of personal anecdotes, rather a colle- ction of tales which include amongst other things people, birds, ageism and taking risks. One song; Que Sera tells the tale of Edith Cavell, a British nurse who famously helped soldiers and refugees escape from the German army during WW1. Despite widespread public protests, she was court-martialed by the Germans, found guilty of treason and shot by a firing squad. There are so many songs about the war that are usually from a man’s perspective and as such, we wanted to bring to light the fact that women had a role in war. After her death, Edith Cavell was used in propaganda for British military recruitment. Her case represented an act of barbarism on the part of the Germans.


In Too Old to Dream, we wanted to tackle society’s habit of shutting away the elderly. The opening vocals are from Irene Rourke; a resident at Bur- king Banks Care Home in Dewsbury and in the song, we tell the tale of a women whose exciting past and dynamic character is overlooked in light of her zimmer frame and care home residence. We also used a little seg- ment of a 1930’s song called “When I Grow Too Old to Dream” in the cho-


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