background

Lewis is a half Irish & English musician, singer, composer and educator. She began her musical career as a singer in the Gaelic ensemble Rún in 2008. Since beginning her solo career in 2014 she has released one Ep and three singles: Catch Me (2016), Wise Owl (2017), Hecate (2018) and Fisherman (2020) which debuted on BBC and RTÉ. An animated film of Fisherman premiered at the Cork International Film Festival in November 2020.

Glenaphuca her debut album, is due for release on 5th March 2021. It is an album full of evocative, autobiographical songs that speak of Lewis’ wish to unearth the legacy of her family roots in Ireland and is a mix of original compositions and reinventions of traditional songs from Ireland and England.  Recent single Fisherman perfectly represents Lewis’s effortless interweaving of the traditional and the original, with it being an original composition by Lewis that infuses a melody from the traditional Irish song Dúlamán. Lewis’s stunning, crystalline vocal and deft, chamber folk arrangements see her being regularly compared to modern stars such as Ane Brun and Lisa Hannigan as well as classic artists such as Joni Mitchell.

Glenaphuca was produced by Lewis at Soup Studios, London with Giles Barrett and was mastered by Pete Maher. Glenaphuca features guest musicians Elisabeth Flett (Fiddle, Backing Vocals) Matt Dibble (Clarinet, Piano), Hannah Thomas (Cello, Backing Vocals), Maria Rodriguez Reina (Cello), Ansuman Biswas (Percussion) and Jonny Huddersfield Helm (Drums). Having previously performed alongside Bróna McVittie in Rún, Lewis has since cut her teeth as a solo artist on the London folk circuit, appearing regularly for institutions such as Nest Collective. Lewis has recently moved back to her maternal home of Ireland and is happily settled in Cork.


WHAT NEXT?

Currently Lewis is Artist in Residence at Greywood Arts in Killeagh, East Cork creating a music video for Glenaphuca and developing new music. Following the Glenaphuca album release and tour in 2021, Lewis will be Artist in Residence with Dublin City Council where she will start to create Mother Ireland - A musical film documentary which seeks to give voice to the silenced feminine in her lineage in Ireland. She is also working towards her second album. And looks forward to sharing more music and connection with the Song Collectors Collective and the Irish Traveller Community.


THE EARLY YEARS

Born in Walthamstow, London to an Irish Mum and English Dad on the edge of Epping forest Lewis spent her weekends romping through the woods with her Dad and siblings; identifying leaves, making plaster casts of animal footprints, collecting stones and inevitably finding a muddy patch to lose a welly boot in. A natural born showoff who would devise dramatic welcome-home performances for her grandparents consisting of Busby Berkeley dance routines down the stairs with her big sister. She also made a lucrative annual sweet fund singing carols to the neighbours in Hale End road dressed as an angel, shaking her money box with milk bottle tops in. She grew up listening to her Dad play fingerpicking folk covers on guitar and banjo and her Mum’s record collection which comprised of Joan Baez, The Beatles Sergeant Pepper, Peer Gynt and The Dubliners. Lewis was never formally taught guitar, she was strongly influenced by by hearing her Dad play.

She went to Thorpe Hall primary School and then to Bancroft’s school before reading medicine at Southampton University. In the first week of University she wanted to leave to study drama but this wasn’t an option so she joined the University Theatre group where she found creative solace for five years, acting or directing a show each term. She made her Edinburgh festival debut and directed The Importance of Being Earnest which involved a continuous live onstage score played by her house mate, Mark Hill - aka The Artful Dodger.

She started her medical career at Bath University Hospital where in-spite of working a 100hr week she sang in the hospital band and regularly played function gigs across Bath. She went on to work a further four years in medicine, singing in covers bands, playing at balls, weddings and clubs before leaving medicine to train at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London.


THEATRE

Her first professional job was playing Macbeth opposite Andi Osho as Lady Macbeth in a spoof musical version of Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival. She swiftly worked her way up the theatrical ranks in fringe, regional theatre, West End and International theatre. Playing Queen Isabel opposite Kevin Spacey in Richard IIwith the Old Vic’s first international tour. By 2009 she was writing songs in most productions she performed in, including the opening number for Cyrano which she toured for 3 months with Aquila Theatre (New York). She made her debut solo show The History of the Pomegranate in 2010 which was funded by the Arts Council and combined live looped sound worlds, song, movement and theatre. This triggered her interest in working creatively with myths and as an artist she has been deeply influenced and inspired by the power of myth, archetypes and the Divine Feminine/Masculine ever since. She has created three large scale musical productions for YMT inspired by the archetypes taking performers on a transformational journey in the process. In 2018 she created WILD with 39 young women at the BARBICAN, Plymouth. Inspired by myths and legends from “Women Who Run With The Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. In the same year she released Hecate - a song about the Goddess of the Witches.

In 2013 she toured twenty one countries in eleven months with 1927’s Animals and Children Took To The Streets. To keep herself creatively alive in heart and soul she wrote a song in every country and this birthed the start of her career as a solo musician and songwriter.


EMBODIED ARCHETYPE WORKSHOPS

Empowering workshops for WOMXN. To read more about these workshops please visit http://www.embodiedarchetypes.com

You can listen to Lewis speaking about the workshops here.














Lewis Barfoot