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Following the recent outstanding MOJO festival of original music in Ardfern, the Argyllshire Advertiser takes a look at what the leading musical lights of Argyll are up to following their rockin’ display at MOJO.
The Brambelles, Kirsteen Black from Colintraive and Alana Mathers from Glendaruel, had already been involved in singing together in their local choir, so were well acquainted with each other before deciding to start their band in 2016.
Initially covering classics, they used their skill for singing harmonies, gained at the choir, and Alana’s acoustic guitar playing, and almost immediately started playing at big festivals such as Fyne Fest, Mama Fest and Best of the West, along with many other local events and fundraising gigs where they have always been well received.
Following in the footsteps of country duos The Shires and Maddie and Tae, from 2018 they started creating their own material, leading to their first original act at MOJO in October and created their debut EP, Golden Days.
Their choir singing is plainly heard in their harmonised vocals giving a beautifully calming sound, invoking memories of listening to Enya in the bathtub. But their lyrics are not so overtly cheery, with themes of heartbreak and defiance running throughout.
Alana said: ‘Often our songs are about a specific place, memory, or person – we like to tell a story through our music. It starts with an idea focusing on a particular topic and then grows around that.’
Kirsteen said: ‘Every moment a song comes together for the first time, hearing us singing it is such a buzz.’
When asked what they thought of MOJO, Alana said: ‘Genuinely, MOJO was amazing. It was the first time we’ve performed an entire set of all our own work, which was pretty special.’
Kirsteen said: ‘MOJO and the reception we got performing our own music for the first time was very special.’
When asked where they would most like to perform, there was some surprisingly touching answers.
Alana said: ‘I personally would love to play in Nashville, the country capital in the Bluebird Cafe. That would be my absolute dream.’
Kirsteen said: ‘I would have loved my dad to hear our songs, but next best, a live performance to my brother who lives in New Zealand during our world tour would be fabulous.’
But no one is squeaky clean, and the duo revealed their biggest secret.
Alana said: ‘I’ve randomly been singing Mambo No 5 by Lou Bega all weekend. That’s my guilty pleasure. My favourite song of all time is Hotel California by the Eagles, so maybe that will allow me to redeem myself.’
Kirsteen said: ‘I’m a sucker for some Abba. Dancing Queen and Fernando in particular.’
The Brambelles, Alana and Kirsteen performing at MOJO 2018. 51_a43MOJO07