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|Birth name||Clodagh Simonds|
16 May 1953 |
Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland
|Instruments||Voice, piano, keyboard, Harmonium|
|Labels||Deram, Janet Records, Die Stadt|
|Associated acts||Fovea Hex, Mellow Candle, Mike Oldfield, Steven Wilson|
Clodagh Simonds (English pronunciation: Clo-da) Clodagh; (born 16 May 1953), is an Irish musician, songwriter and singer. She was born in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland and raised and educated in Killiney, County Dublin.
At the age of eleven, she formed her first band, Mellow Candle, with two schoolfriends, Alison Bools (later Williams, later O'Donnell) and Maria White. They released their first single, "Feelin' High", on SNB Records in 1968, when she was 15. Three years later, and with an expanded line-up, Mellow Candle released their only album, Swaddling Songs, which made little or no impact beyond Ireland until around twenty-five years later. The group disbanded in 1973. Between 1972 and 1975 she guested on Thin Lizzy's second album, Shades of a Blue Orphanage, and two Mike Oldfield albums, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn, helping Oldfield to coin the title of the latter, she also appears on his Amarok album; Oldfield's 1990 spiritual sequel to Ommadawn. Between 1976 and 1986 she lived in New York where she worked in a band with Carter Burwell and Stephen Bray, as well as writing music for two theatre productions at La MaMa ETC, and occasionally working for Virgin Records.
Working within the recording industry had a negative impact on her career aims, and subsequently she resumed her long-abandoned studies of piano, and began studying music of other cultures. In 1992, Simonds relocated from London to West Cork to focus on writing music, and in 1996 Six Elementary Songs was released on the Tokyo-based label Evangel Records. This mini-album was produced by Tom Newman. That same year, Virgin Prophet was released by UK label Kissing Spell, consisting mostly of recordings for Deram by a pre-drums line-up of Mellow Candle. It also featured two even earlier solo demos, written and recorded by Simonds at the age of 16.
Twenty-five years or so after the release of the Mellow Candle album, interest in the band reawakened, starting in Japan, and the album has now been re-released several times, attaining cult status. One of Simonds' songs, "Silversong", was covered by All About Eve in 1988, and another, "Poet and the Witch", was covered by Stephen Malkmus in 1998. In 1999, she sang a version of the Syd Barrett/James Joyce song "Golden Hair" for Russell Mills' album Pearl & Umbra. Between 2005 and 2007, under the name Fovea Hex, she released 3 EPs, collectively entitled Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent, featuring Michael Begg, Carter Burwell, John Contreras, Roger Doyle, Brian Eno, Roger Eno, Robert Fripp, Percy Jones, Cora Venus Lunny, Donal Lunny, Andrew M. McKenzie of The Hafler Trio, Sarah McQuaid, Hugh O'Neill, Colin Potter of Nurse with Wound, Geoff Sample, Lydia Sasse, Laura Sheeran, and Steven Wilson. Each EP was available in a special edition that included an additional disc, containing an extensive re-working of that EP's material by The Hafler Trio.
As a performing unit, Fovea Hex usually consists of Clodagh Simonds, Laura Sheeran, Cora Venus Lunny, Michael Begg and Colin Potter, with either Julia Kent, Kate Ellis or John Contreras on cello. In May 2007 Fovea Hex performed at the invitation of David Lynch at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, as part of his The Air Is on Fire retrospective exhibition. Having also performed in Austria, Spain and Italy in 2007 and 2008, Fovea Hex made their debut Irish performance at the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Co. Laois, in August 2008.
Clodagh Simonds presently lives in Dublin.
- Mellow Candle – Swaddling Songs (Deram, 1971)
- Fovea Hex – Bloom (part 1 of Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent, Janet Records/Die Stadt, 2005)
- Fovea Hex – Huge (part 2 of Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent, Janet Records/Die Stadt, 2006)
- Fovea Hex – Allure (part 3 of Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent, Janet Records/Die Stadt, 2007)
- Fovea Hex – "Here Is Where We Used To Sing"
- Mellow Candle – Feelin High/Tea with the Sun (SNB, 1968)
- Mellow Candle – Dan The Wing (Deram, 1971)
- Fovea Hex & Andrew Liles – Gone Every Evening (Die Stadt, 2007)
- Thin Lizzy – Shades of a Blue Orphanage (vocals, piano, mellotron)
- Mike Oldfield – Hergest Ridge (vocals)
- Mike Oldfield – Ommadawn (vocals, lyrics)
- Jade Warrior – Kites, (vocals)
- Mike Oldfield – Amarok (vocals)
- Russell Mills – Pearl & Umbra (vocals, harmonium)
- Tunnels with Percy Jones – Natural Selection (treated vocals)
- Current 93 – Black Ships Ate The Sky (vocals, zither, psaltery)
- Matmos – For Alan Turing (vocals for Molly Malone)
- Human Greed – Black Hill: Midnight At the Blighted Star (piano)
- Steven Wilson – Insurgentes, (vocals, lyrics)
- Thinguma*jigsaw – Misery Together (album) Folkgore / Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Pornografica Mori(Piano) 2012
- Janet Records Website
- Interview with The Irish Times, November 2008
- Interview with Tokafi (January 2007)
- Interview with Black (German magazine, 2007)
- Interview with BlowUp (Italian magazine, 2007)
- Fovea Hex on Myspace
- Review of "Bloom", Pitchfork Media
- Review of "Huge", Pitchfork Media
- Review of "Allure", Pitchfork media
- Mellow Candle – comprehensive history extracted from IRISH FOLK, TRAD AND BLUES – A SECRET HISTORY
- Electric Picnic