Lorraine Bowen

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Lorraine Bowen
Lorraine Bowen headshot.jpg
Bowen performing on stage at Brighton in 2012
Background information
Birth name Lorraine Bowen
Born (1961-10-31) 31 October 1961 (age 55)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, comedian, musician
Website Official website

Lorraine Bowen (born 31 October 1961) is an English singer, songwriter, comedian and musician. [1] Born in Cheltenham, Bowen was brought up in Chelmsford, Essex.

Early career (1985 - 1990)[edit]

She studied music at the University of Surrey,[1] and then busked around London. She was a member of two bands in the 1980s: See You in Vegas and The Dinner Ladies,[2] as well as performing regularly with Billy Bragg on stage and on record. She has also made many appearances on BBC Radio 4 including John Shuttleworth's show Radio Shuttleworth and the 1999 all-female sketch show Heated Rollers, starring Lynda Bellingham, Gwyneth Strong and Joanna Monro. She has also written for BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends.[1]

Solo Music career (1990 onwards)[edit]

Image of Lorraine Bowen in concert at The Vauxhall Tavern, London.

In 1990, Billy Bragg encouraged Bowen to start a solo career. She started to perform solo shows under name of The Lorraine Bowen Experience; her act featured three songs, a Casio keyboard and an ironing board. This has led to shows all over the world, including festivals in Winnipeg, Toronto, San Francisco, and in the UK, Glastonbury, Edinburgh, Glasgay, Bestival, The Big Chill, and The Secret Garden, and many shows in Italy and Spain. Her songs are quirky, funny and often with a sense of kitsch.[3] Themes include: food, film stars (one of her most popular songs is about Julie Christie), mobile phones, fish fingers and launderettes. They have catchy choruses and she encourages audience participation.[3]

Live Shows[edit]

Lorraine Bowen's Vital Organs[edit]

Vital Organs was the name of Bowen's first solo musical comedy show celebrating her collection of portable Casio electronic organs, omnichord and other eccentric portable organs. First performed at London's Drill Hall, the show toured extensively between 2005 and 2009.

Lorraine Bowen's Comfort Zone[edit]

Lorraine Bowen Comfort Zone show was a 'durational project' of three connected concerts exploring hibernation in connection with Brighton's Pink Fringe and the Nightingale Theatre. Supported by Arts Council of Great Britain, the show ran through the winters of 2011 and 2012, drawing upon a series of experiences provided by Charlotte Glasson, Mick Jackson and others.[4]

Lorraine Bowen's Polyester Fiesta![edit]

Image from Lorraine Bowen's Polyester Fiesta

Lorraine Bowen's Polyester Fiesta show celebrates polyester and has 4 models, a scientist and a wardrobe mistress. Bowen acts as hostess, model and sings down the catwalk. Bowen has been a collector of vintage polyester outfits since visiting jumble sales as a girl and the collection has been featured on BBC1's The One Show[5] and BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.[6]

Polyester Fiesta! toured during 2015, been performed at Glasgay,[7] The South Bank Vintage Festival, Brighton Fringe,[8] Colchester Arts Centre [9] and Royal Vauxhall Tavern among others.

Lorraine Bowen Meets Barbara Moore[edit]

In 2011, Bowen discovered that Barbara Moore was alive and living in Bognor Regis, while recording an episode of Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular radio programme. Barbara Moore is a composer, arranger and fixer, who was active in the British music scene for over twenty five years. After starting as a member of The Ladybirds, Moore went on to work with Elton John, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Jones amongst others, but she is not widely known today. Bowen created 'Lorraine Bowen meets Barbara Moore' to provide a platform to show others how prolific Barbara had been in the 1960s and 1970s. This show presented Barbara Moore and her work to a new audience and featured in the Brighton Fringe festival in 2014.

Work with other artists[edit]

Billy Bragg[edit]

Lorraine was discovered by Billy Bragg at the Hackney Empire performing with The Dinner Ladies.[10] After a successful audition to fill in for Cara Tivey's maternity leave, she found herself performing her first show with Billy at the Liverpool Opera House as part of the Workers Playtime Tour. She then toured East Germany just prior to reunification, performing in Army camps and stadia.

John Shuttleworth[edit]

Lorraine made an appearance in two episodes of Radio Shuttleworth with John Shuttleworth (Series 1, episode 2 and Series 2, episode 3).

Radio[edit]

Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular[11] is a much loved quirky sonic radio experience made up of binaural field recordings, interviews and eclectic tracks. Award winning,[11] featured on Brighton's Radio Reverb, the shows are now available as a podcast.[12]

Film[edit]

Lorraine provided the soundtrack for No Deposit, No Return by Dallas Campbell.[13] Lorraine Bowen's original song "Julie Christie" appeared on the Canadian independent film, Better Than Chocolate soundtrack.[14] Bowen also provides vocals on "There Must Be An Angel"[15] in Sorrentino's 2013 film, The Great Beauty.[16]

Television[edit]

She sang on the Fantastic Plastic Machine cover of the Eurythmics' hit "There Must Be an Angel", which featured in the British sitcom Spaced.

Britain’s Got Talent 2015[edit]

Bowen also entered Britain's Got Talent in May 2015 and was sent through to the live semi-finals by David Walliams' golden buzzer after she sang her own song "The Crumble Song",[17] which was about her love of apple crumble.[18] On 25 May, Bowen was voted out of Britain's Got Talent by the public in the first semi-final after singing a song about space.[19] She came fourth in the votes, which was not enough to get into the final.

Outside music[edit]

Teaching[edit]

Image of Lorraine Bowen conducting a Choir Workshop at The Dome, Brighton.

During her early career, Bowen also worked as a part-time music teacher in schools across Hackney. Now based in Brighton, Bowen runs singing workshops at the Brighton Dome[20] and Bexhill's De La Warr Pavilion.[21]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Greatest Hits Volume One (1995)[22]
  • Greatest Hits Volume Two (1998)[23]
  • Bossy Nova (2000)[24]
  • Songs from the Living Room (2002, Italian)
  • Vital Organs (2006)[25]
  • Suburban Exotica (2010)[26]

Singles[edit]

  • Faffing Around on Facebook (2012)
  • Drinking Song (in German) (2012)
  • Valentine's Day (in a 21st Century Way) (2013)
  • Japanese Crumble Song (Sushi Song) (2013)
  • Bears (2015)
  • Give My Love to Hull (2015)
  • Christmas Crumble (2015)
  • Crumble de Noel (2015)
  • Reggaeton Crumble Song (2016)

Contribution to other artists[edit]

Billy Bragg
  • The Internationale (1990)[27]
  • Don't Try This At Home (1991)[28]
Dope Smugglaz
  • The Word (1998)[29]
Fantastic Plastic Machine
  • There Must Be An Angel (Playing with My Heart) (Mix for Mirror Ball) (1998)[30]
  • Bossa For Jackie (Dedicated to Mrs Kennedy) (1998)[30]
The Damned
  • So, Who's Paranoid? (2008)[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Gregory, Andy (2002) International Who's Who in Popular Music, Europa, ISBN 1-85743-161-8, p. 56
  2. ^ https://www.discogs.com/artist/1507912-The-Dinner-Ladies
  3. ^ a b Maupin, Elizabeth (1993) "Bowen's Perkiness Won't Stop: Bubbly and Uninhibited Lorraine Bowen Even Gets the Audience Involved in Her Wackiness", Orlando Sentinel, 29 April 1993, p. E1
  4. ^ "Lorraine Bowen's Comfort Zone, The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, February 11". The Argus. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Polyester Fiesta on The One Show. YouTube. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, 14/03/2011". BBC. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  7. ^ <https://www.list.co.uk/article/38346-interview-lorraine-bowen-celebrates-material-world-in-polyester-fiesta/
  8. ^ "The New Current". The New Current. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Martin Newell's Joy of Essex: Polyester Fiesta would bring crackle back to Saturday night". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  10. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Dinner-Ladies-These-Knees-Have-Seen-The-World/release/1845941
  11. ^ a b "Modulate 2014 Stereo Spectacular – Photos from my live radio recording!". commedia.org.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  12. ^ RSS - Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular by Lorraine Bowen
    "Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular by Lorraine Bowen". iTunes. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "BBC - Film Network - Films - No Deposit, No Return". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Better Than Chocolate discogs page
  15. ^ OST "La Grande Bellezza" - Lorraine Bowen - There must be an angel (remix). YouTube. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Lorraine Bowen". IMDb. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Daly, Emma (16 May 2015). "Meet David Walliams's BGT Golden Buzzer choice Lorraine Bowen". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  18. ^ http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/britains-talent-semi-finalist-toured-billy-5725820
  19. ^ Denham, Jess (26 May 2015). "Britain's Got Talent 2015 semi-finals: Lorraine Bowen wins fans in Snoop Dogg and Nick Grimshaw as Twitter shows her some love". The Independent. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  20. ^ Brighton Dome. "Brighton Dome / Brighton Dome". brightondome.org. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "Deck The Halls With Bexhill Voices!". dlwp.com. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "Greatest Hits Vol. 1". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "Greatest Hits Volume 2". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  24. ^ "Bossy Nova!". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "Lorraine Bowen's Vital Organs by Lorraine Bowen: Amazon.co.uk: Music". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Suburban Exotica by Lorraine Bowen: Amazon.co.uk: Music". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  27. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Billy-Bragg-The-Internationale/release/739981
  28. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Billy-Bragg-Dont-Try-This-At-Home/release/1712955
  29. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Dope-Smugglaz-The-Word/release/5598232
  30. ^ a b https://www.discogs.com/Fantastic-Plastic-Machine-Luxury/master/85720
  31. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Damned-So-Whos-Paranoid/release/2087087

External links[edit]