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KATE RUSBY HAS WORKED WONDERS OVER THE LAST DECADE IN SPREADING
THE JOYS OF FOLK TO A WIDER AUDIENCE. FAR FROM REGARDING FOLK AS A DIRTY WORD, SHE HAS SHOWN WITH EACH ALBUM AND LIVE PERFORMANCE HOW VIBRANT IT CAN BE. MUSIC-ZINE CAUGHT UP WITH KATE ON THE EVE OF HER SHOW AT CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE.
WORDS BY DANNY NEILL, JONNY SCURFIELD AND VICKY HARRISON.
Folk music seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance of late. Why do you think this is?
“There are definitely more young people involved in playing and
listening to the music, and the scene is expanding at a rapid pace, that’s the only reason really.”
Do you ever miss acting? Do you ever wonder what could have been had you got the part in Emmerdale?
“I don’t miss it, no.To tell you the truth I was never any good at it! I am a huge believer in fate, I wasn’t meant to get that part in Emmerdale. I wouldn’t have been the same girl at all.”
Graham Coxon did the artwork for The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly. How did this involvement come about?
“Graham is such a lovely bloke! I first met him at the very first BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, which I think was 1999. He presented me with an award. I didn’t know this before then but he liked my music so very kindly came along to present it. We kept in touch
with him over the years and he’s been to a few gigs, and when it was time for me to do a new cd I thought it would be lovely to ask him if he fancied doing it, and I was so happy when he said yes. I love that cover, he’s an amazing artist.”
You recently played at the Big Ask Concert in Camden. Explain what this was in aid of and why it’s important
“It was for Friends Of The Earth’s ‘Big Ask’ campaign. A global warming awareness campaign, to get everyone to send a post card or letter, email or text to the government to ask them to
commit to reducing carbon emissions by 3% year on year. It’s good that we all do our bit, but the more people who join the campaign, the more strength it has to be heard. It’s very
important to me to help where I can. I was asked to go and be part of the London concert, and I made sure I went. For more info check out their website- please!”
Will you be playing any new material on the tour?
“Oh I think so.”
I first heard your music on the film ‘Heartlands’ written by Paul Fraser. How do you feel this contributed to the
development of your career?
“Oh I love that film. I don’t think it has contributed to my career very much, but it has been lovely for the music to reach people who it might not, like yourself. We had such a ball doing that film, and made a great friend in Damien O’Donnell.”
“Do you have any memories of playing the Half Moon in Bishops Stortford in the late 90s? Any plans to return?
If I remember rightly, I think that’s the place where I really liked the wallpaper! I bet the decor has changed now and it would be such a disappointment, so gonna have to say no.”
Can you tell us how the collaboration with Ronan Keating came about? Do you think working with Ronan might upset your fan base? I know a couple of Kate Rusby fans who sat down cross legged in protest when Ronan appeared on stage at the Fleadh in Finsbury Park one year ...
“I was delighted to be asked to do the duet. Ronan had listened to my Underneath The Stars album and when “All Over Again” came in he thought about asking me. I was very flattered and happy to get involved. Ronan is a lovely fella and it’s
been great working with him, and it’s so lovely to do something a bit different, dipping a toe in someone else’s world. Why ever would it upset
my fanbase? That’s quite bizarre if it did. I have a huge amount of respect for that man, he works very hard, and a great deal of his time is dedicated to cancer charities which I applaud. He’s very successful in his chosen field
of music. Not everyone will like it, and that’s the case for all musicians and singers, but, if it was in seriousness, to sit down in protest I think that’s quite rude. Whatever would they feel they’re
achieving? I am 32, I make my own choices. I am not going to change my music though, I do what I do and always will. I’m sure that when my next record comes out there will be folk saying,“ooh she needs to do something different” . You can’t win really!”
Who would you prefer to collaborate with; Ronan Keating or Bob Dylan? Reasons for your choice are?
“Ronan. Sorry, but I have never been into Bob Dylan. And I’ve had such a laugh doing the things with Ronan, somehow I don’t think it would be like that with Bob. You have to have fun in life!”
Have you noticed any difference with your public profile since being in the Top 10?
“I do get recognised but not very often, and I always feel so silly when someone does. It’s really mainly in Yorkshire if I do cos’ I get a lot of press and local telly here, although I recently did Sligo festival in Ireland and Ronan’s really popular there so people did stare, but I’m not sure they placed me. In fact the last time I was
in Edinburgh I was crossing a square and a man ran into me on his
bike. After apologising he cycled off saying his new claim to fame was running over Kate Rusby! I couldn’t believe he knew who I was! It’s always a very strange thing when folk know you but you don’t know them,
especially if you’re shy, which I am. I just blush!”
Would heading in a more showbiz
direction interest you? (TV shows /
“Again, being shy, I don’t find that side of things easy, but I try and not let it stop me doing things. I have always done bits of telly and interviews so it would be no different really.”
I noticed at last years Cambridge Folk Festival that your fan base is feverishly loyal to you. What do you think you give them that inspires such devotion?
“Oh that’s a very kind thing to say, and I do have loyal fans which is such a lovely thing. I don’t know what I give them? Perhaps it’s because I am still playing the same music as I was 14 years ago. Lots of people I know change their music greatly to achieve radio plays etc. I have just always played the music I love and anyone
who wants to listen I am very grateful. I am such a lucky girl.”
What album would you rescue in a house fire?
“Without a doubt, Nic Jones –Penguin Eggs!!!!!!”