Belinda O'Hooley

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Belinda O'Hooley
Born Leeds, England
Genres Folk, chamber folk
Instruments piano, vocal
Years active 2004–present
Labels No Masters; Rabble Rouser
Associated acts O'Hooley & Tidow; Nic Jones; Jackie Oates; Lucy Ward; Chumbawumba; Rachel Unthank and the Winterset

Belinda O'Hooley is a British singer-songwriter and pianist with Irish roots,[1] who was born in Leeds[2][3] and went to university in Huddersfield,[3] where she is now based. Formerly a member of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (now The Unthanks), she now records and performs with fellow Yorkshire singer-songwriter Heidi Tidow (pronounced Tee-doe), who is also her civil partner,[4] as O'Hooley & Tidow.

Professional career[edit]

O'Hooley comes from a long line of County Sligo musicians[5] and performed alongside her cousin Tommy Fleming, a singer who was formerly with De Danann.[6]

Rachel Unthank and the Winterset[edit]

From 2004 until 2008 she was a member of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (now The Unthanks).[3] Nic Oliver, reviewing their 2007 album The Bairns for musicOMH, described O'Hooley as "the ace in the pack throughout The Bairns. Her background in cabaret (intriguingly, she had once appeared on Stars In Their Eyes impersonating Annie Lennox) adds a left-field edge to the music, with her jazzy piano chords lending a sing-along feel to the live favourite Blue's Gaen Oot O'The Fashion. O'Hooley also contributes the two original tracks to the album, although the casual listener could quite easily mistake both Blackbird and Whitehorn[7] for traditional songs".[8]

Solo album[edit]

In 2005 O'Hooley released a solo album, Music is My Silence, described by reviewer David Kidman of as "a commanding and defiant set of thoroughly contemporary-sounding songs"[5] and by FATEA as "a highly polished collection of songs that gently sway between folk and jazz".[9]

O'Hooley & Tidow[edit]

Main article: O'Hooley & Tidow

She has issued three albums with Heidi Tidow, performing as O'Hooley & Tidow. Each album has received four-starred reviews in the British national press.

Other musical contributions[edit]

O'Hooley plays piano on Jackie Oates' albums Jackie Oates (2006),[10] The Violet Hour (2008),[11] Hyperboreans (2009),[12] Saturnine (2011)[13] and Lullabies (2013).[14] With Heidi Tidow, she also features on Chumbawamba's album ABCDEFG (2010)[15] and Lucy Ward's debut album Adelphi Has to Fly (2011).[16]

O'Hooley also accompanied Nic Jones at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on his 2011 comeback tour[17] and on further tours in 2012 and 2013.[18][19][20]

In 2015 O'Hooley accompanied Jim Boyes on his Sensations of a Wound tour, telling a little-known story of the First World War.[21]


with Rachel Unthank and the Winterset[edit]

Title Format Release date Label
Cruel Sister album 11 May 2005 Rabble Rouser (RR005)
The Bairns album 28 August 2007[22] EMI (50999 504 3802 0) / Rabble Rouser (50999 504 3802 0)

Belinda O'Hooley[edit]

Title Format Release date Label
Music is My Silence album 13 June 2005 Rabble Rouser (RR001), distributed by Cadiz Music

O'Hooley & Tidow[edit]

Title Format Release date Label
Silent June album 22 February 2010 No Masters[23] (NMCD32), distributed by Proper Records
"The Last Polar Bear" single (download) 21 November 2011[24] No Masters
The Fragile album 9 February 2012 No Masters (NMCD 39)
"Gentleman Jack"/"The Last Polar Bear" single (download) 4 November 2012[25] No Masters
The Hum album 17 February 2014[26] No Masters (NMCD 41)
"Summat's Brewin'"/"Peculiar Brood" single (download) 20 July 2014[27] No Masters
"Peculiar Brood" video (live performance) 7 October 2014[28]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Jo Breen (14 March 2014). "O’Hooley & Tidow: The Hum". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "'Pandemonium' feat O'Hooley & Tidow". website. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Sam Wonfor (6 May 2010). "New band and album for The Unthanks' Belinda O'Hooley". The Journal (Newcastle-upon-Tyne). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Emma Hartley (9 February 2012). "O'Hooley & Tidow on Fay Hield, homophobia and the fragility of life". Emma Hartley's Glamour Cave. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b David Kidman. "Belinda O'Hooley – Music Is My Silence (RabbleRouser)". Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Belinda O'Hooley: Music Is My Silence". L.A.S.Y.S. Inc. 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  7. ^ The song is actually called "Whitethorn", as O'Hooley explains in an interview with David Peschek: "It's about my great-grandmother, struggling to survive in a tiny village in Ireland...She was pregnant 15 or 16 times and only two babies survived. Because they hadn't lived long enough to be christened, they weren't buried in the local churchyard, but under a whitethorn bush, actually near where my dad lives now. It really brought home to me the history of women's struggles, and made me want to write." David Peschek (14 September 2007). "'In our family, singing is the law'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Nic Oliver (August 2007). "Rachel Unthank & The Winterset – The Bairns (EMI)". musicOMH. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cambridge and Beyond". FATEA Records. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Jackie Oates (Self titled debut)". Discogs. Jackie Oates. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Jackie Oates – The Violet Hour". Discogs. 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Jackie Oates – Hyperboreans". Discogs. 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Robin Denselow (8 September 2011). "Jackie Oates: Saturnine – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Robin Denselow (21 March 2013). "Jackie Oates: Lullabies – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Stefan Appleby (9 March 2010). "Music – Review of Chumbawamba – ABCDEFG". BBC. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Robin Denselow (16 June 2011). "Lucy Ward: Adelphi Has to Fly – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Alex Gallacher (22 February 2012). "First Names Announced for Cambridge Folk Festival: including Nic Jones!". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  18. ^ Colin Irwin (28 June 2012). "What the folk! Nic Jones is back". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Susan Darlington (4 April 2012). "O'Hooley And Tidow All Hallows Church, Leeds". Morning Star (London). Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "Nic Jones Trio and John Smith". Glasgow's Concert Halls. Glasgow Life. January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Sensations of a Wound". What's On. Southbank Centre. 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  22. ^ Mel Ledgard (30 July 2008). "Folk song is all about connection and communication – gifts that are second nature...". BBC Music, BBC website. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  23. ^ Rachael Clegg (9 November 2010). "No master’s voice – Belinda O’Hooley, former pianist with Mercury nominees The Unthanks, talks to Rachael Clegg about her latest duo outing". Sheffield Telegraph. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  24. ^ "O’Hooley & Tidow – The Last Polar Bear". Missing Lesbians. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "Gentleman Jack". 4 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  26. ^ Simon Holland (17 February 2014). "O’Hooley & Tidow – Interview & Exclusive New Video: The Hum". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Alex Gallacher (4 July 2014). "O’Hooley & Tidow – Summat’s Brewin’ (New Single)". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Tues 7 October ‘Peculiar Brood’ Live at Leeds Holy Trinity Church". O'Hooley & Tidow. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 

External links[edit]