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Lorraine Bowen in 3D

Lorraine Bowen in 3D

Meet Lorraine Bowen

Lately, Lorraine Bowen is all over the Creative Coast of Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill. She’s a comedian, a singer (conducts the Gay Men’s Chorus in Brighton and gave Billy Bragg singing lessons), and she is half of Hastings’ favourite fusion Folk/D’n’B act – The Chalkwell Ladies Drum’n’Bass League. HOT’s Erica Smith is such a big fan, she’s off to see Lorraine on Thursday night at Back in the Room, and booked the Chalkwell Ladies to celebrate her fiftieth birthday on 2 August. Read on to find out why she loves Lorraine so much.

Your are a frequent visitor to the area – what do you love about St Leonards and Hastings?
I actually like the gentrification! Ha ha! Not many would say that who live there, but I remember a very run-down St Leonards in the ’80s and ’90s and I like the new buzz about the place. I do miss all the old ladies tea shops as you come up from St Leonards Warrior Square station but it’s fun to see the new things coming in. I like St Leonards much better now. A while ago I visited the museum with the television stuff – totally fabulous and I bought a book on Grey Owl – the Red Indian from Hastings! Legend!

Tell us about your West Side Story song workshop in Bexhill?
I recently took a singing workshop at The De La Warr pavilion where 60 brave souls came and sang through my arrangements of West Side Story! I gave them tips and tricks about singing, we went through staggered breathing, performance and confidence vocalising and then we performed the whole set on the bandstand outside! The weather was glorious and loads of people came up to me saying how much they’d enjoyed the afternoon with their flapjack and tea!

Are you planning another similar project?
Yes! I’m talking to the DLWP about some new ideas!

And what are you up to at Back in The Room this Thursday night?
I’m doing a short set singing some of the hits from my five albums! If they shout loud enough I may even do the Crumble Song!

I believe your side project, “The Chalkwell Ladies Drum’n’Bass League” has got a massive following in Hastings… and you are back again at the beginning of August to get your fans to shake a leg. Tell me a bit about CLDnBL?
The Chalkwell Ladies Drum ’n’ Bass League is a side project for me with wonderful knob twizzler, Karina Townsend who is a music tech legend at the City Lit Institute in London. We got together many years ago while on a trip to Chalkwell in Essex and decided to create a band! We wear tweeded suits and sing our own songs and cover versions but definitely in modern popular culture mode innit! Hastings has embraced the Chalkwells like no other town and we have performed on the bandstand, in cafes and a restaurant! Hastings loves The Chalkwell Ladies. And we are very happy to be coming back this August for your birthday party!)

Anything else you want to say?
Please support the efforts of people putting on music and comedy events in Hastings and St Leonards. The effort is always considerably more than anyone would imagine and getting people out these days is a trifle difficult. But the events are always very special in this part of the world – so come and party!

Lorraine is performing Thursday 18 July at Back in the Room at the White Rock Theatre with Nish Kumar. Find out more and buy tickets here.

And she will be back with fellow Chalkwell Lady Karina Townsend on Friday 2 August at the Masonic Hall, playing at Erica’s 50th birthday fundraiser for Sara Lee Trust. Find out more on Facebook. Tickets are available from: One Cafe, Love Cafe, Our Big Day (all in St Leonards), Substance (Hastings) and Serenity Hair and Beauty (High Street, Old Town).

Posted 14:02 Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 In: Performance


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