It was 1995 and five friends found themselves at Cambridge Festival.
They decided to sing some songs together ... magic happened and Daphne's Flight took off.
Now, two decades later, five of the best singer/songwriters of their generation are gathering again – older, wiser and twice as powerful.
In 2017 they released their new album on the Fledgling Label on CD and Vinyl
Daphne's Flight will be touring the UK throughout in May 2020 with a stunning brand new album.
HELEN WATSON www
Helen Watson is a unique performer whose versatile voice and idiosyncratic songs are a welcome change in the world of singersongwriters. Her music crosses the boundaries between blues, soul, jazz and folk. Helen began performing on the folk circuit during the late sixties. She was in the blues band 'Loose Lips' and a member of the Mancheste band 'Well Knit Frames'. In the mid eighties Helen joined backing Carmel as a backing singer with for several european tours. During this time she secured a recording contract with EMI.
Helen's first album Blue Slipper was produced in Los Angeles by the legendary Glyn Johns. Musicians included Albert Lee , Bernie Leadon and members of Little Feat. Helen then toured Europe with Joe Cocker. Her second EMI album - 'The Weather Inside' was also produced by Glyn Johns and featured Andy Fairweather-Low on Hanging Out The Washing. In the early 1990's Helen was a member of the acclaimed vocal ensemble Hell Bent Heaven Bound with Christine Collister, Barb Jungr and Michael Parker. They toured Europe and Canada.
The same year also saw the release of Notes On Desire the magnificent debut from the Helen Watson Band. During the latter part of the nineties Helen co-produced Christine Collister's Blue Aconite, and began recording her own beautiful trilogy of albums for the Fledg'ling label - Somersault (1996), Doffing (1999) and Lifesize (2002). Somersault - a remarkable collection of Helen's original songs - was coproduced by fellow Daphne's Flight member Julie Matthews, with guest appearances from Chris While, Christine Collister and Julie Matthews.
Her vocals can also be heard on the duet album Western Wall from Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. 2002 saw Helen contribute to Ashley Hutchings' Street Cries and Shining Bright - the Lal and Mike Waterson tribute collection.
In 2006, Helen began working with double bass player Dave Bowie, guitarist Mark Creswell. and horn player Snake Davis. This collaboration became 'Burden Of Paradise.' This band crosses the boundaries between jazz, blues and soul. Teaming up with Mark in Leeds and Ilkley, Helen produced 'Headrest'in 2008. Since then Helen has recorded and 5 track CD of original materiel called Fiver with Mark Creswell. During this time she has recorded and performed with a five piece acapella group from Manchester called 'The Love Notes'.
CHRIS WHILE WWW
"She rises from the ashes like an angel with a voice to match". The Guardian.
Chris was a solo performer from the age of fourteen, singing and playing round the folk clubs in Barrow-in-Furness until she met her then husband Joe While. They became a duo and for the next fifteen years they lived and gigged around the Manchester folk scene and the north of England. Chris soon gained a reputation as a fine singer and guitarist.
In 1991 Chris went solo again after she and Joe divorced and rose to the attention of the Folk Roots world. Now equipped with an arsenal of original songs, she recorded her first three albums in quick succession Still on fire 1991, By Request 1992, Look at me now 1993. Chris has appeared on over 80 albums so far..
She recorded two more solo albums, In The Big Room 1997 and the critically acclaimed Rosella Red 2007.
She is now writing for the next one.....
Maverick Magazine wrote about Chris in their Rosella Red Review “She has the heart of a poet and the eyes of a painter. Her writing is literate, credible, forthright and honest. Her voice is beautiful, a term I very rarely use when describing the deliveries of most singers. It is emotion packed without ever being melodramatic, compassionate without being needlessly sentimental, damning when she fervently believes certain issues need to be confronted head on, but always making for compelling listening. A quite superb album from one of the most notable women, currently living up to the reputation she has quite painstakingly built over a number of years in the contemporary folk scene.” *****
In 1993 she joined The Albion Band as lead singer with Simon Nicol, Ashley Htchings and Ashley Reed and the following years brought her voice and songs to a much wider audience both in the U.K. and in the international arena. Chris made three albums with the band, writing or co-writing much of the material.She left the band in 1997 to pursue a full time duo career with her Albion Band mate Julie Matthews.
While & Matthews, now famous around the globe for their live performances, have been nominated ten times in the Best Live act, best song and best duo categories at the BBC Folk awards and in 2009, they won the 'Best Duo' award. They have nine studio albums and two live ones in their catalogue as well as a Best of While and Matthews CD.
Their new Album Shoulder to Shoulder will be released in September this year (2016)
Chris and Julie also play in The Christmas Band, St Agnes Fountain playing alongside Fairport's Chris Leslie and David Hughes. this year will be their 16th anual tour.
Over the years Chris has made many appearances with Fairport Convention and in 2007 she was asked to take the place of the late Sandy Denny to re-create the classic Fairport album 'Liege & Lief' with the original 1969 line-up (Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Dave Mattacks and Dave Swarbrick) at Cropredy Festival in front of 25,000 fans. Watch this space ...
One the biggest joys in Chris's life is to sing with her Daughter Kellie While and they have three Albums to date. You can find a full discography here.
CHRISTINE COLLISTER WWW
‘..boundary breaking is routine for Collister and makes her one of the finest grown-up vocalists on the planet…’ – Q
Christine’s career now spans an incredible 33 years! Over that bridge of time she has released 19 albums … a DVD celebrating 20 years in the business and a single with the BBC : the theme tune for “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil” in 1984.
Throughout, she has mesmerized and astounded with her unique blend of soul, blues, pop, jazz, country and folk, and today she remains as powerful, subtle and effortless as ever.
Christine Collister grew up on the Isle of Man. Her professional recording career began in the mid 1980’s but she first came to national attention singing the 1987 theme for the BBC Television series The Life and Loves Of A She Devil. Following a fruitful association with The Richard Thompson Band, Christine enjoyed a period of critical and commercial success in a seven-year partnership with Clive Gregson.
Over the course of her career Christine has become a familiar name on the UK ‘live’ scene and at all major festivals from Glastonbury to Winnipeg to Cambridge. With a gravity defying voice, assured and impressive live performances and great personal charm she is a magical live performer.
Christine has always enjoyed the collaborative process and has been an integral part of various musical projects over the years, harmonies a strong point in all of them. Hell Bent Heaven Bound, alongside Barb Jungr, Michael Parker and Ian Shaw in 1992 was part of “Pick of the Fringe” series at the South Bank following a great run at the Edinburgh Festival. Helen Watson replaced Ian Shaw for Hell Bent Heaven Bound II in 1993 . Both projects were themed collections of songs given effective and often unusual arrangements and harmonic twists – both shows were highly successful and played to packed houses both in the UK and Canada.
Christine has also worked closely with Dave Kelly, acclaimed British Blues man and long standing member of the highly acclaimed Blues Band. They have enjoyed several successful tours with a full band and most recently in 2011 with a more acoustic set-up, working with long time friend and collaborator Pete Filleul.
Christine performed as a solo act for many years but has been working with fellow Manxman Rob Cross since 2009. Rob brings a more sophisticated musical approach and his subtle use of Loop Station has brought great excitement and fun to the proceedings.
Christine’s natural warmth and intimate connection with audiences coupled with her stunning voice, make her concerts delightfully memorable events.
“Christine Collister can sing the birds down off the trees and send them back with a tiny flick of her vocal chords.” Mojo
JULIE MATTHEWS WWW
"Awesomely talented" FRoots
Julie Matthews is one of the country's most talented and prolific song writers and has earned the respect of her peer as well as her huge fan base and reveiwers alike.
Julie was a lone performer in her early years, travelling around Europe learning her craft as a singer / songwriter and entertainer.
Described by Folk Roots as "awesomely talented" Julie Matthews is a dynamic performer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist. (Piano, Guitar, Bazouki, Mandolin, Piano acordion, harmonica)
Born in Sheffield, England, she left school at 18 and began writing songs for a small London publishing company. The contract lasted only a few months before the company went bankrupt and forced Julie to "go out and learn her trade properly", as she put it. So she began singing in pubs, wine bars and then piano bars around the world, perfecting her performance skills by night and her writing skills during the day. Throughout this time, Julie worked in a duo with Pat Shaw and in 1993 they released their debut album 'Lies and Alibi's'. It was the first collection of Matthews' songs on CD and received critical acclaim; this led to them opening for Mary Chapin Carpenter at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Sadly this was one of their last performances together as shortly afterwards the duo split. Since then Julie has recorded two solo albums; 'Such Is Life' 1996 and 'Slow' 2004.In 1990 she was asked to join the legendary Albion Band. Julie agreed and over the following seven years she became a leading member of several of their line-ups, her songs becoming an intrinsic part of the bands repertoire.
It was during this time that Julie joined forces with Singer/Songwriter and fellow Albion Band member Chris While and in 1997 they left the band to pursue their duo career. Their partnership has gone from strength to strength, releasing ten major albums together and touring each year throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia.
Though internationally acclaimed, they continue to be a leading force on the UK's acoustic/roots arts circuit. Their songs cover life as they see it, from the industrial wastelands of the north, to injustice and freedom, matters of the heart and everything in between.
Julie is a key songwriter for the Sony Award winning series of Radio Ballads, made for BBC Radio 2 in 2006 and 2012. In early 2010 she joined Rory McLeod, Boo Hewerdine, Jez Lowe and Ruth Notman in the song-writing project "All Along the Wall", celebrating the history of Hadrian’s Wall in music and poetry. In 2015, she, along with Chris While, Jez Lowe, O'Hooley and Tiddow, Boo Hewerdine, John Doyle, Andy Seward, John McKusker and Michael McGoldrick, was one of the writers for 'The Ballads Of Child Migration', the music from which was used to accompany the V&A's 'On Their Own', a moving exhibition of the history of forced Child Migration in London.
MELANIE HARROLD WWW
Melanie began singing her career in The Boggery Folk club run by
Jasper Carrott in the 70’s. She then moved to London and joined a street theatre company called Methylated Spirits going on to work in musical theatre, and appearing in a specially commissioned TV show with music written by Carl Davies.
She recorded two albums with DJM Records, ‘Fancy That’ under the name of Joanna Carlin and ‘Blue Angel’ under the name of Melanie Harrold. She toured with Louden Wainwright 111 and Don Mclean and also appeared with Barbara Dickson on Gerry Rafferty’s City to City album.
In the early 80’s she worked in a Country Rock/ Theatre Band called The Hank Wangford Band singing under the name of Irma Cetas, alongside such great musicians as B.J.Cole and Andy Roberts.
Melanie spent the last years of the decade touring extensively throughout Britain and Europe recording and producing three Cds with Double Bassist Olly Blanchflower.
The 90’s saw her training as a Voice Movement Therapist and a Body Psychotherapist, developing her work The Singing Body, teaching in Europe, America, South Africa and Australia.
She continues to bring singing into mental health environments in London
as well as working with individual singing students
At the turn of the millennium she began working with amateur singers and is now the creative director, writing and arranging songs for two choirs Vocal Chords and Trade Winds.
She has co-produced two albums with Harvey Summers of Broadoak Studios in Bexhill for Vocal Chords ‘English Folk Carols’ and ‘Ticket To Ride’.
In 2012 her albums from the 70’s were re-released by Acrobat Records bringing her back to live performances and recording ‘Melanie Harrold...Live and Then Some’ in 2013.
She is thrilled to bits to be recording a reunion album with Daphnes Flight and touring with them in 2017.