Ethereal Folk Music with Soul
Lewis is an Irish/English singer songwriter, musician and educator who works with an uncomplicated loveliness of sound, combining ethereal, evocative vocals with original compositions and reinventions of traditional songs from Ireland and the UK. A timeless storyteller who transports the listener to magical, otherworldly places and is frequently compared to the likes of Ane Brun, Joni Mitchell and Julie Fowlis.
“What a beautiful, beautiful voice she has, just gorgeous!”- Eve Blair, BBC Radio Ulster
“A balm for the soul”- Lillian Smith, RTÉ Radio 1
Her debut album, Glenaphuca released in March 2021 has received great praise from RTÉ 1, FRUK, BBC Radio Ulster and RTÉ na Gaeltachta. She describes Glenaphuca as a folk prayer to the ancestors and is an album rich with evocative, autobiographical songs that speak of Lewis’ wish to unearth the legacy of her family roots in Ireland. 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.
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. It would be fair to say that the folk music, close harmonies and sprinkles of Calypso in BAGPUSS were a huge influence on Lewis as a child.
She went toThorpe Hallprimary 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.
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 II with the Old Vic’s first international tour. By 2009 she was writing songs in most of productions she performed in, including the opening number for Cyrano which she toured for 3 months with New York based Aquila Theatre. Her debut solo show The History of the Pomegranate in 2010, funded by the Arts Council uk combined live looped sound worlds, song, movement and theatre and 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 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 to 21 countries with 1927’s Animals and Children Took To The Streets. To keep herselfcreatively alive in heart and soul she wrote a song in every country and this gave birth to her career as a musician and songwriter.