Thursday, 7 May 2015

Live In 2015: Bella Hardy at Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall on Thursday 7th May 2015

Up in the Swansea Valley there is a small mining village called Ystradgynlais. 

Award winning Folk songstress Bella Hardy decided to come and visit and bring her With The Dawn Spring Tour to the Village Welfare Hall - on Election Nights of all nights. The hall was also being used as a polling station. Very odd indeed. But as Bella said, she did wear her party dress - but which party?

With a lovely, brand new look (Shorter hair and blonde) and joined by a four piece band, Bella unveiled the live versions of the songs on the stunning new album, With The Dawn.

I was dying to know whether Bella and the band could reproduce the sonic subtleties and intricacies of the With The Dawn live. And I am thrilled to be able to report that they achieved this, and more.

I don't want to go into too much detail of the songs on with The Dawn - that'll be for another blog page later in the year. But suffice to say, she did the album justice tonight.

I know that With The Dawn will be in my Albums Of 2015 list and Bella and her band gave the songs passion and delicacy that permeates the whole album.

With a sound as clear as crystal glass and the voice of an Angel, Bella sounded as good lvie as on her recorded output.

Although the evening was mainly a vehicle to give the new album it's live airing, Bella also introduced some of the old favourites into the set, such as The Herring Girl.

Using the whole band and varying the tempos and the instrumentation, sometimes with just her and guitar accompaniment, another song just her and piano, Bella seemed as confident and natural as she is on her albums. She has an engaging stage manner and used it well to tell stories surrounding the songs.

The new album is the best music she has produced so far and the songs transfer well into their live versions.

Bella has been collaborating a lot with other musicians over the last couple of years and she has included some of these songs into the set too. Hatfield being one, where she describes it being about childhood.

Bella's band included With The Dawn's producer Ben Seal and I wonder if he had something to do with the live sound production in this evening's performance as it really was something a bit special - a big thumbs up for the Sound Man too.

It was an an evening of beautiful music and moving, emotional songs. It was my first time to see Bella live - and I know it won't be the last. She is one of UK music's brightest talents and I can see no reason why she won't go from strength to strength.

If you get the opportunity to see her live - please go, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Twitter - @bellahardy

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