Tim Amann xTet

Sheila MacrorySheila, born in Leicestershire, comes from an Irish folk and theatrical background. Music was a constant and significant presence throughout her childhood, with several members of her family playing and singing semi - professionally. She grew up singing in folk clubs, where she also played violin.

Since 1990 Sheila has been a member of the Crescent Theatre, a highly respected theatre company based in Birmingham. During this time, Sheila has acted and directed at the theatre, but has been most active in its choir and in various musical productions. She also sings alto in the renowned Birmingham Oratory Choir, performing a range of masses, motets and other early church music.

Sheila started to take a serious interest in jazz in 1994, and is able to bring a number of other influences to this, a quality that is reflected in the band's expanding repertoire. She began performing with the quartet in 1998 and joined the band in its tours of Scotland in 1998 and 1999, also appearing at the 1999 Montreux Jazz Festival. Her rendition of "She Moved Through the Fair" on the "Xtet" album is especially memorable and she is once again featured on "The Scarecrows".

A regional German paper said of Sheila's performance in the October 2000 tour "she provided particular highlights whenever she took up the microphone," and audience reactions seem to bear this out. Her voice is untypical of many female jazz singers and clearly retains much Celtic folk influence. It is precisely this quality though which lends so much originality and stylistic variation to the music the band plays, and creates opportunities to explore lyrical directions uncommon to "mainstream" modern jazz.

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