Bev Lee Harling
“Refreshing and original talent. Intrigued to hear more…” John Kennedy, Xfm
What do all these things have in common? - Spherical vibrators in the streets of Notting Hill, award winning mediaeval maidens, gypsy swing with a cockney twist, a half naked fire-eating burlesque dancer, anorexic nuns, glass orchestras, music boxes, childrens songs, an old 1950s typewriter, Hospital records artist Netsky, and a Berlin circus sideshow of musical freaks?
The answer of course is Bev Lee Harling, who having begun her violin studies at the age of 5 and spent her teenage years touring Europe with the East Sussex Youth Orchestra, then attended Middlesex University to gain a degree in Jazz Studies. Inspired by her lecturers, most of whom were from jazz big band Loose Tubes, Bev then began writing her own material.
In 2006 Bev recorded a 5 track E.P of her songs - “Impossible Human” produced by Julian Hinton (arr/producer for Trevor Horn). Many of the tracks have since featured in compilation releases, including Jazzanova’s “Broadcasting from Offtrack Radio” and “Café Paradiso” alongside Thom Yorke and Martina Topley-Bird. The final track on the E.P “Im For You” is also the soundtrack to the latest big ad campaign for exclusive lingerie company Myla, advertising their latest new adult toy, “The Sphere.” A parody of the Sony Bravia ad, set in Notting Hill (rather than San Francisco), it features thousands of quite different balls bouncing down the Portobello Road!
In 2007 Bev came to the attention of Katherine Blake, the founder of 80’s band “Miranda Sexgarden” and chart topping / Ivor Novello award winning classical act the “Mediaeval Baebes”. Asked to become a “Baebe”, Bev has now toured extensively in America and Europe with the group of 6 women, singing, playing violin and writing songs for their latest album “Illumination” released in 2008.
In 2008 Bev was commissioned to write the music for a Channel 4 film as part of their “Coming Up” series, a showcase for new writers and directors. The 30 minute film, “Thinspiration”, directed by Harry Burton, starring Sian Thomas and Karen Gillan (Dr Who’s latest companion) is set in a nunnery in the 16th Century, and tells the story of how nuns would starve themselves to death in order to get closer to God. The film has since been featured as part of Channel 4’s Generation Next campaign and enjoyed its premier cinema screening at the National Film Theatre.
After a series of successful gigs in Germany, Bev met producer/dj Stefan Rogall, and a series of collaborations led to Bev being included in the lineup for his band “Rogall and The Electric Circus Sideshow” alongside Earl Zinger (Galliano), Hugo Race (Nick Cave) and Henry Rollins. Bev co-wrote and performed songs for the project’s debut album, released in 2009 on Perfect Toy records.
Following this collaboration, Stefan Rogall has been producing Bev’s debut solo album “Urban Gypsy” (due for release soon!). This album is a collection of songs featuring a lot of old junk Bev has found lying around, including an old 1950’s typewriter, a home made glass orchestra, and electric power drill and plenty of pots and pans. Bev’s latest live project “Bev Lee Harling and the Kitchen Sink” is a 7 piece band playing music from this album. Their acclaimed debut gig was supporting the 15 piece frenetic gypsy band “The Destroyers” at Wiltons Music Hall.
Since recording her album Bev has come to the attention of the Peoples Music Awards 2010, voted for by a combination of public voting and music industry panellists. She made it to the finals in their Solo Female Artist category with her song “Buy Me” quoted as being
“Individual, clever and funny…the most original pop song we’ve heard this year”
Always seeking variety in her musical career Bev is usually involved in many eclectic projects at one time, her most recent to date have been performing violin for the London Burlesque Festival with Amsterdam Burlesque star Natsumi Scarlett, singing for The Bright Size Gypsies, a modern gypsy swing project at the London Jazz Festival, playing violin and viola for the latest recordings of Sophie Barker’s (Zero 7) cd series Toybox for children with producer KK (Bjork, Dido) and writing/performing vocals on Hospital records latest signing Netsky’s debut album.
Bev’s music is published by Westbury Publishing.
The debut album "Urban Gypsy" has been produced by Stefan Rogall in Berlin and written by Bev Lee Harling (some co-written with Stefan).
The album has been created using a variety of junk including…
An Old 1950’s Typewriter, Cardboard Boxes and Sellotape, Zips, Washboard, Dog Bowl, A Household Boiler, Pots and Pans, Drinking Glasses , Chopsticks, Chopping board and Knife, Music Boxes, Kazoos, Childs Megaphone.
When re-created live there is also the addition of…
An Electric Drill, Cheese Grater, Household Saw, and anything else found on the day of the gig.
Additional instruments include…
Banjo, Ukelele, Violin, Electric Guitar, Timpani and Guchin.