Beatrix Players are a London-based all-female trio who make florid, adventurous music that operates at the interface between folk, singer-songwriter acoustica, prog and quasi-classical baroque chamber pop. There is a light, translucent quality to the music, and yet when it is not being hushed and reverent, it has the attack and thrust, the surging dynamism, of rock. It can be soft and intimate, but it can also be fiery and intense, epic and immense. There are tempestuous passages in their music that you can imagine being delivered by traditional rock instrumentation but it is the very absence of guitars and drums that means that there is nobody out there quite like Beatrix Players.
When choosing a suitable name for their band this London based trio certainly gave themselves something to live up to. Beatrix, from the Latin Viatrix, is a name that in its various forms has been previously bestowed upon self-sacrificing martyrs and self-denying mystics, royal consorts and Holy Roman empresses, Balzac heroines and Tarantino assassins. Characters of great daring and bravery, romantic, mysterious and emotionally complex, some wielding the deadly allure of sirens yet all too often doomed to dangerous liaisons, bitter betrayals and untimely deaths. No small irony then, that a name so often chosen by tragedians for their characters literally means "she who makes happy".
Beatrix Players’ music is sung, and largely performed, by Amanda Alvarez (cello), Jess Kennedy (piano, backing vocals) and Amy Birks (lead and backing vocals), with a little help from friends on violin and double-bass. Amanda Alvarez is the Beatrix Player in love with Bach’s cello suites, the one whose contribution to the group’s melodies is a matter of record. Spanish-born, with an Australian mother who has sung with choirs in the Spanish capital, her musical experience ranges from playing in classical orchestras to pummelling her way through a series of punk and grunge bands in her teens and early twenties. “I listened to the melodies, not the lyrics,” she says by way of explanation, adding that her mind was further blown with the advent of female-fronted 90s acts such as Garbage and No Doubt.
BP’s other Australian, Jess Kennedy - along with Amy Birks the co-writer of the songs - had a modern folk phase and is also classically trained. She has a penchant for “dramatic and emotional-type piano music”, which possibly explains why Beatrix Players’ music is so dramatic and emotional. Jess is the one in thrall to the romanticism of Chopin and Beethoven and darkness of Rachmaninov, as well as the film soundtracks of Thomas Newman, Michael Nyman and Yann Tiersen. She has been penning songs since childhood, and describes her writing tentatively as a sort of emotional splurge. “I like to express myself,” she admits of her rich and ravishing contributions to Beatrix Players, alluding to her piano-playing. “I’m quite physically expressive when I play, and sometimes that inspires me to write something.” Wide ThumbClearartFanart Banner User Comments