The birth of Carmina was a literary affair.
Rob King and Pippa Marland were studying English literature at Bristol University when they met at a seminar in 1987 - he had a mandolin under his arm - she had a microphone poking out of her bag.
"We went back to her house and I picked up this battered old guitar she had in her kitchen," says King. "She started singing and I knew we had something from the minute she opened her mouth. It was a bolt from the blue".
Guitarist King and vocalist Marland are still the core of a band which King always imagined as a "jazz quartet married to a Celtic-based acoustic duo".
They are the compositional and inspirational heart of Carmina (Carmina is a Latin word meaning songs or poems), and together with the world-class musicians who have joined the band they have created a sophisticated sound which, based around their strong original material, draws in elements of traditional and contemporary Celtic music, jazz, soul and rock.
Their album Weather in the Heart - recorded in Dublin and produced by Donal Lunny has been released worldwide to great acclaim and has been followed by the live album On a Quiet Street, Love Like Angels and new studio cd My Crescent City.
The unique quality of Carmina's music makes it difficult to classify, but easy to love, the general sound has been compared with Moving Hearts, Everything But The Girl, Swing Out Sister, Renaissance and Van Morrison - but as well as comparisons, Carmina's music has drawn heart-felt superlative praise from critics around the world: "Powerful... original...soulful... spellbinding... stunning... spiritual... fresh, sophisticated and accessible... dazzling... inspirational... awesome... vibrant... magical...".
Live, Carmina have committed themselves to becoming one of the most accessible yet innovative bands currently touring, developing their unique fusion of jazzy celtic roots to enchanting depths
The music when performed by such consummate players as Rob and Pippa attract relies on the grace and subtlety of Pippa's vocal style to draw the tuneful strands together.
The band create a real warmth on stage, with virtuoso solos played with good taste and never running amok through the arrangements that have obviously been so well crafted.
Pippa's rapport with the audience lends the proceedings an intimate touch, drawing in those who might be unprepared for the diversity of the music.
The combination of one of Britain's finest female vocalists and a band of such superlative musicians can do no more than create a stunning experience for those fortunate enough to be involved.
Carmina have played all over Europe, touring Australia, Spain, Belgium, Ireland and France have been nominated for the Hot Press Best Roots Album and The Irish Rock Music Awards Best Traditional Act Awards, and received a swathe of acclaiming reviews from across Europe.
Appearances on TV and radio in both the U.K, Eire, Australia, USA and Spain have helped secure a strong audience base - one of their impromptu live radio slots on G.L.R. (London) radio was voted as one of the top ten broadcast items on that station that year (2000).
Several songs have been, or are in the process of being, recorded by other artists across Europe, and some have also appeared as incidental music in TV programs in the U.K, Belgium & Eire.
Carmina perform successfully in all formats from duo to seven-piece, in each format creating warmly positive audience responses - some of their followers have been known to express a preference for the duo/trio lineups relishing the greater intimacy of atmosphere that this can create.
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