Everything in perfect harmony for Mamatones

IN the 90s, we had Girl Power and now thanks to three local ladies we've got Mama Power.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th July 2010, 12:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2010, 12:28 pm

Lizzie Bell, Tamsin Davison and Anna Emmins are all known around Berwick and Berwickshire for their individual talents - but they have now joined forces and are causing quite a stir.

The girls made their first performance as a trio at a fundraiser in Coldstream last year and after impressing with their unique take on some traditional standards and chart hits they have been in demand ever since.

The Mamatones went down a storm at The Barrels recently and despite only being together officially for such a short time, they already have a record company itching to work with them.

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All this on top of the fact that Anna, Lizzie and Tamsin have 13 kids between them- it's a wonder they find the time for anything else!

"If anything having children is kind of the opposite to an obstacle," Anna commented.

"There's a sense of urgency when you have a family and I'm definitely much more organised- I can write songs and look after the children!

Lizzie added: "I've found my range has improved a lot since becoming a mother.

"It's something to do with your diaphragm but I've noticed a difference for the better.

"As long as you keep healthy if anything your voice should improve with age.

"We've all got really supportive families and we wouldn't be able to be in The Mamatones without them - our husbands have had to do a lot of babysitting!"

What sets The Mamatones apart from their peers is that they favour the a capella style of singing made famous by many girl groups of the mid 20th century.

But this does come with its difficulties.

"I think a group singing a capella immediately have more of an impact; we are like each other's instruments." Lizzie continued.

"When we performed in Coldstream last year you could hear a pin drop, everyone was totally silent.

"It is quite a complex thing to get three singers in the right pitch though and without a tuning fork it could go horribly wrong," Tamsin added.

"You can always find us practising in the loos before our gigs - the acoustics are great in there!"

Covering everything from Burns songs to tracks straight from the Top 40, The Mamatones have got the potential to appeal to a very wide audience and they have already found this to be the case locally.

"I'm always taken aback by just how much people like our performances," Anna said.

Lizzie added: "When we performed at The Barrels there was this group of young girls came up to us all dressed up for a hard night of clubbing and said that we were really inspirational.

"And then at the end of one of our other shows a guy said that he wanted one of the songs performed at his funeral, which is still a compliment I guess!"

Taking their lead from the likes of The Beverley Sisters and The Ronettes, The Mamatones are a lot different to young, highly polished acts that you'll currently find occupying the upper eschalons of the chart but they feel that they have something different to offer.

"We know we can't compete with teenage girls," Anna continued.

"We have tried a bit of choreography in the past but it's quite hard!"

Tamsin added: "Anna's coined a phrase - she said it's not about Girl Power but Mama Power!"

"There are so many groups who put themselves out there in the wrong way and project a certain image but we are just enjoying the music," Lizzie said.

"We definitely didn't expect to take off the way we have."

The Mamatones' style of singing may not be something that is heard on the radio every day, but that hasn't stopped the girls from putting their own spin on songs that have adorned the airwaves and they have others up their sleeve.

"We like to have a mix of original songs and covers," Lizzie commented.

"I'd really love for us to tackle 'Umbrella' by Rihanna and 'Empire State of Mind' by Alicia Keys.

"We try to learn at least one new song before each gig - which sounds quite lazy but with three different harmonies to work out it's hard work."

Tamsin added: "I'd love to do some Muse and other rocky stuff, I really think we could surprise a few people.

"I've written a few songs including one about my husband Lucas," Anna said.

"And I've written 'Everything Must Come To An End' which is being produced by Iain Petrie (known to local music fans for fronting The Gypsy Soul Experience)."

The Mamatones have been approached by Edinburgh based record label The Music Kitchen who are keen to get them in the studio and Anna, Lizzie and Tamsin are all quite taken with the thought of recording their own album.

"We started singing together for a bit of a laugh but after my husband recorded one of our performances there has been quite a bit of interest," Lizzie commented.

"But all being mothers we can't just throw ourselves into things at the drop of a hat like free and single musicians can."

Anna added: "It would be great to be able to do an album but then gig at our own pace."

For now, The Mamatones, like the rest of us, are enjoying this terribly un-British spell of good weather, and are starting to plan gigs for the coming months, with the possibility of another spot at The Barrels in the offing.