|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Associated acts||The Pack, Ola|
Arwen Arabella Hardy (born 1984), known as Bella Hardy, is a contemporary folk musician, singer and songwriter from Edale in Derbyshire, UK, who performs a combination of traditional and self-penned material. She was named Folk Singer of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, having previously won the award for Best Original Song in 2012 for "The Herring Girl".
Hardy attended Hope Valley College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from York St John University in 2005 and a Master of Music degree from the University of Newcastle in 2007. She was named the inaugural "Alum of the Year" by York St John University in 2009.
Bella Hardy is from Edale in Derbyshire's Dark Peak where there is an abundance of communal song. Born into a family of singers, Hardy began singing locally at an early age. Having played the fiddle a small amount at school, she attended a Folkworks Youth Summer School in Durham aged 13. Motivated by the number of young people playing folk music, she began working on folk fiddle. She also met the 11 musicians who formed The Pack. This 12 piece band toured across the summer folk scene, and they played on the Cambridge Folk Festival main stage in 2003. In 2002, The Pack's only album 12 Little Devils was released, with fRoots calling it "... a genuine feel good album. Get yours now!". The Pack performed for ten years before disbanding in 2007. In 2004 she was a finalist in BBC Radio 2's Young Folk as a solo artist.
Hardy released her debut solo album Night Visiting in 2007, to critical acclaim. Mojo gave her a 4* 'Brilliant' rating, fRoots wrote "Bella Hardy is more than a new generation folk revivalist... Her potential is massive", and Taplas Magazine noted "...her debut CD solo album is a piece of wondrous beauty and inventive incisiveness". The following year she was nominated for the Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. She was also nominated for Best Original Song the same year with Three Black Feathers, which Jim Moray went on to record on his 2008 album Low Culture.
In July 2008 she performed in two concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall as part of the first Folk Prom. She opened the event with a set of unaccompanied traditional songs and played an evening concert with long-time touring companion Chris Sherburn (concertina) and Corrina Hewat (harp). The programme was broadcast simultaneously by BBC Four and Radio 3. Other TV appearances include The Truth about Carols (2008), a Christmas Day BBC Two show on which she sang 'The Coventry Carol', and BBC One's Songs of Praise in February 2010 singing her own version of 'The Lord's my Shepherd'.
Hardy released her second solo album In The Shadow of Mountains in 2009 at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Again it gained critical acclaim. English Dance and Song Magazine wrote "It's astounding and somewhat daunting to realise this is only Bella's second album... Surely no-one has any right to be writing songs with the sophistication of 'Sylvie Sovay', so early in their career...lyrical portraiture that brings to mind no less than Lennon and McCartney", and R2 Magazine noted "Bella's debut album Night Visiting was excellent, but In The Shadow of Mountains is stunning".
- Night Visiting (Noe Records, 2007)
- In The Shadow of Mountains (Noe Records, 2009)
- Songs Lost & Stolen (Navigator Records, 2011)
- The Dark Peak and The White (Noe Records, 2012)
- Battleplan (Noe Records, 2013)
- Twelve Little Devils The Pack (Selwyn Music, 2002)
- Be Prepared for Weather Ola (Ola Music, 2003)
- Laylam Carthy Hardy Farrell Young (Hem Hem Records, 2013)
- Best original song BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2012) - 'The Herring Girl'
- Folk singer of the year BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2014)
- Horizon Award BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2009)
- Horizon Award BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2008)
- Best Original Song BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2008)
- Best Album (In The Shadow of Mountains) Spiral Awards (2010)
- Music to our ears! (news article) at York St John University
- Hardy, Bella (presenter); Everett, Peter (producer) (24 June 2014). Bella Hardy Goes Home (Radio). BBC Radio 4.
- Bella Hardy profile at Singers Pro
- Alum of the year 2010 (news article) at York St John University
- Collected reviews of Night Visiting, at bellahardy.com
- Collected reviews of In The Shadow of Mountains, at bellahardy.com
- review of In The Shadow of Mountains quoted from R2 Magazine, at bellahardy.com
- Tilden, Imogen (20 February 2014). "Bella Hardy wins folk singer of the year". The Guardian.