Joan Armatrading still learning, even after 40 years

Shane O’Riordan

Reporter:

Shane O’Riordan

ICONIC and renowned jazz and blues musician Joan Armatrading makes a welcome return to Ireland when she plays in the University Concert Hall on Wednesday September 26 as part of her UK and Ireland Tour.

ICONIC and renowned jazz and blues musician Joan Armatrading makes a welcome return to Ireland when she plays in the University Concert Hall on Wednesday September 26 as part of her UK and Ireland Tour.

The three-time Grammy nominated, Brit award nominee and Ivor Novello-winning singer-songwriter visits Limerick on the back of the launch of her latest album, Starlight. The new album is a subtle blend of genres, namely blues and rock, but gravitates primarily toward jazz: “I purposely made a trilogy in the form of blues then rock then jazz so each of the albums focus on different genres but sometimes borrow elements from other genres so I think they compliment each other well,” she enthuses.

Silky jazz bass riffs and soft warm vocals provide for an easy-listening and entertaining 22nd album.

The Birmingham singer and musician celebrates her 40th year in show business but still looks forward to playing her classics for her Irish fans: “I still love to play some of my older songs as the audience can identify with them. I like to play a mix of new and old at my concerts to let fans reminisce when they hear old tunes but also entertain them with new material.”

Joan Armatrading is the first female UK artist to have debuted at number one in the Billboard Blues charts. She is also the first female UK artist to be nominated for a Grammy in the blues category.

She is one of the UK’s leading female singer songwriters who has stood the test of time with highly acclaimed songs such as Love And Affection, Willow, Drop The Pilot, The Weakness in Me, Me Myself I, Into The Blues, ‘his Charming Life and now has released some of her finest work to date. Joan is back with an album that will appeal to fans old and new.

The legendary singer is excited to play in Limerick and “always bonds well with the Irish crowds.” She continues: “I’ve visited Ireland many times before, I like the Irish fans, especially their sense of humour. I’m very excited to play in Limerick. Fans here are really good and are always up for a good time.”

Armatrading plays all instruments featured on the album and provides details of her love affair with music and her humble beginnings as a musician: “I play the guitar, bass, drums and everything else you hear on the album. Whatever (instruments) I play I taught myself. What made me want to play the guitar in the first place was that my father played the guitar and used to hide it from me when I was younger. Because I couldn’t get to it, it made me want to play even more. I saw one in a pawn shop for £3 so I asked my mother for the money. She said she hadn’t got £3 but she had two old prams, so I went in and traded the two prams for the guitar.”

Joan continued: “I still have that guitar. It was a challenge to play because it has such a large neck and it’s a big guitar in general so it made it even more difficult to play as I was a small child at the time. It is an Italian guitar as far as I know, but does not have a name.” Joan added: “I love music because I love the fact that I am still learning all the time.”

The Birmingham star concluded: “To my Limerick fans I want you to come along and just enjoy yourselves.”

Joan Armatrading plays UCH next Wednesday, September 26. Tickets are priced at €30.