Theatre-News.com caught up with the lovely Joan Armatrading in central London to find out more about her latest project The Tempest Songs.
Click above or below for the full uncut interview.
When Joan Armatrading MBE was asked to write the music for the new production of The Tempest at the Donmar Warehouse she gave it considerable thought before agreeing.
The three time Grammy nominated award-winning artist has never confined herself to just one style and she always writes her own lyrics. But she loves Shakespeare. So she agreed - yet another challenge for the woman who took her degree whilst on tour and ran her first New York marathon in her fifties.
During her long and varied career Joan has released albums of pop/acoustic, jazz and blues, playing guitar, piano and many other instruments, and this particular Shakespearean play gives full rein to her creativity. The music is accomplished and exciting – vivid, visceral and elegiac as the words dictate.
Sitting comfortably beside varied instrumental sections (all music is played by Joan herself) there are passages of traditional folk, choral song, acapela and even the insistent rhythms of a gospel spiritual. The vocals here are also handled by Joan (on stage the parts are taken by the actors).
There is driving, racey guitar work and other-worldly notes, heraldic dance tunes and samba type riffs. Running throughout, however, there is a muscularity that sits well with the darker themes of the play and which the vocal nuances perfectly complement.
The Tempest is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and the all female cast is headed by Harriet Walter.
The play is currently in performance at the Donmar Warehouse space at King’s Cross prior to its run there as part of a Trilogy – The Tempest, Henry IV, Julius Caesar – in November. It transfers to New York in January 2017.
‘The Tempest Songs’ is written, sung, played, engineered, arranged and produced by Joan Armatrading. It is downloadable now from itunes.
In addition, a new DVD of Joan’s recent and final extensive world tour, ‘Me Myself I: Last Major World Tour’ is released on November 11th 2016.
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