Blessed with sensitivity, coupled with a great sense of humour, Belinda and Heidi write creatively, expressing new ideas both lyrically and musically in a beautiful way – Nic Jones
Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow are the chamber-folk duo behind The Fragile, their genre-defying new album on the No Masters label. Their debut Silent June, was one of MOJO Magazine’s Top 10 Folk Albums of 2010.
In 2007, pianist, composer, songwriter and interpreter, Belinda O’Hooley left the Northumbrian band The Unthanks after writing two of the songs on their Mercury nominated album ‘The Bairns’ (Blackbird and Whitethorn). It was a brave decision, described by Peter Culshaw in The Independent as “Like Brian Eno leaving Roxy Music”. Belinda has no regrets.
Belinda and Heidi Tidow met on the Huddersfield music scene and started songwriting and performing together in 2009. Though both brought up in Yorkshire, they share a traditional Irish music background with family in County Sligo and Galway. Heidi also has a German heritage on her mother’s side. Both are strong advocates of autonomy and as such, are members of the ‘No Masters’ songwriting co-operative, based in the North of England alongside Chumbawamba, Coope, Boyes & Simpson, Jo Freya, Ray Hearne and the late Lal Waterson. The label is run by its members.
Belinda has played piano for a number of folk acts including Nic Jones, Jackie Oates and (with Heidi) contributed to albums by Lucy Ward and Chumbawamba. They are also both activists for the LGBT community and as such, write for various publications including Shout! They have been recently nominated for the ‘Positive LGBT Role Model’ Award in the 2012 National Diversity Awards.
Their debut album Silent June was released in February 2010 on the No Masters label to widespread critical acclaim. Neil Spencer at The Observer described it as “Striking and refreshingly ambitious, a bold, unsettling debut”. Three tours and a string of summer festivals followed. They have garnered a reputation for honest, heart-breaking and at times, humorous performances; Julian May at Songlines Magazine describing their live show as “Mightily impressive”.
The duo’s beautifully unusual songs touch on everything from dark folk tales, ecology and cross-dressing historical figures through to the invisibility of the elderly and the global economy.
Their new album The Fragile, released in February 2012, sees them touring the country with their irresistible blend of striking arrangements, sublime harmonies and cheeky Northern banter.
For more information on O'Hooley and Tidow please visit their website.