A Little Bit Country; Singer Songwriter Rita Hosking Blends Blue Grass, Folk and Country to Great Effect on Her New Album. So Why, Asks Matt Thomas, Is She So Excited about Male Voice Choirs?

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), July 27, 2010 | Go to article overview

A Little Bit Country; Singer Songwriter Rita Hosking Blends Blue Grass, Folk and Country to Great Effect on Her New Album. So Why, Asks Matt Thomas, Is She So Excited about Male Voice Choirs?


Byline: Matt Thomas

THERE are two very different worlds in country music. One is occupied by the big-hat wearing like of Garth Brooks, Nashville-based and prone to year-long Las Vegas residences including wire-flying spectacular finales.

The other shades more towards the low-key and traditionally-informed likes of Laura Cantrell, eschewing the faux-cowboy antics in favour of a more folky take on the music.

Rita Hosking is set very firmly in the latter camp. Her current tour, which brings her to the Cwmaman Institute, Aberdare, tomorrow, is her first time in Britain - something that she's finding very rewarding for a number of reasons.

"It's a very exciting trip for me actually," she says.

"Especially my time in Wales. I'm from a mining family and I'm very interested in mining history and everything that goes with it.

"Also I'm sharing a bill with a male voice choir which is something I was determined to hear while I was over here, but I was convinced I was going to have to hunt out. Instead I'm having it dropped in my lap!" Hosking's love for the choral tradition stems from her own mining background, which happens to be Cornish rather than Welsh.

"My great-grandfather was what they call a Cousin Jack over here, which is a Cornish immigrant, and we grew up in and I still live very near to one of the areas that is associated with transplanted Cornish people," she explains.

"Northern California obviously has a great tradition of mining, from the Sierra Nevada on down, and that's been one of the great influences on my writing and on my choice of standards.

Even more than that, it had a very real effect on the way I came to appreciate music.

"My father and grandfather would sit us down every Christmas and sing to the whole family, and I think that had an impact on my approach to traditional music, making me feel quite reverent of it. …

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