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By Jennifer Bell Company, Mar 28 2018 05:10PM

Jennifer Bell has been working with BBC Radio producer Beth O'dea on a new, standalone version of Bread and Butter, which will first air on Radio 4 on Friday 30th March.


Bread and Butter is an unaccompanied song cycle about the secrets of office life - the undeclared crushes, the silent dreams and quiet triumphs that happen between desks. The radio piece features live excerpts of songs from the original stage show, interwoven with true stories from people who work in offices from across the UK. It's the first programme of this kind ever to be aired on Radio 4.


BREAD AND BUTTER

2:15pm

Good Friday 30th March


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09wvtv7


If you'd like to hear more about my work, check out this interview with Michael Rosen, in which we talk about using verbatim in songs for the Westminster show, Mouthpiece.

WORD OF MOUTH - BBC RADIO 4


By Jennifer Bell Company, Nov 8 2014 12:37PM

We have two winners to see our post-show screening of Freya Billington's short film Bread and Butter with a glass of bubbly and Q&A.


Well done


ADRIAN MANTLE


&


TIM KERSLAKE


Very excited to see you later, and thanks for sharing.

By Jennifer Bell Company, Oct 31 2014 12:12PM

C.S. When did you first start singing and why?


M.F. My earliest memory of singing is as a young child, sat between my dad and my uncle on a roadtrip to the Isle Of Wight. It was one of those brilliant child songs that has very little melody and goes on for a very long time. It had something to do with princesses and knights. Later as a teenager i remember badgering my friends to form a band with me and I HAD TO BE the lead singer. Why? Because I'm a show off. I stole all the lyrics from a Paul Simon song, put them to my own tune and pretended I was a teenage genius.


C.S. What makes singing a-cappella with The Beautiful Machine so special?


M.F. Because it's so important for all of us that we deliver these songs as well as we can. We are carrying the responsibility for the performance of each song equally and we each invest so much of ourselves. When we get it right we all feel it - it's electric.


C.S. Tell us a bit about why you like to work with Jen Bell


M.F. Because she is a very special friend. Because she cares so passionately about the work. Because she is so disciplined in her approach to the voice and to this very naked way of performing. Not literally naked.


C.S. What would you like to find when you sing with organisations such as DAC Beachcroft?


M.F. Singing at DAC Beachcroft was so much fun. We were happy just playing with the flip up plug sockets in the conference room. That doesn't really answer the question does it?


C.S. Which Bread & Butter song do you relate to the most and why?


M.F. The song that I sing the lead on - Tough Crowd is the one I most relate to. Maybe that's because I'm a boss. Maybe it's because I have sung it so many times now that I feel the characters voice most strongly. Heroes is the one that moves me the most. It's so beautiful and vulnerable.


C.S. What kind of music do you listen to today?


M.F. I listen to FIP, the french radio station. The programming is so diverse from Jazz, Experimental, Opera, Rock, and inbetween songs you get a sexy french voice purring at you.


C.S. What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?


M.F. Ernie (Fastest Milkman in the West) by Benny Hill.


C.S. If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?


M.F. Making theatre. Making dinner. Raising babies. Sitting at the computer.


C.S. What genre of music can't you stand to listen to?


M.F. James Blunt is the only one that forces me into a state of axe wielding outrage.


C.S. Cake or death?


M.F. Death is inevitable. For now I'll eat cake.

By Jennifer Bell Company, Oct 27 2014 05:58PM

C.S. When did you first start singing and why?


E.S. As soon as I could make sound, I think. When I was 4 my brother was in the choir at church and I was too young to join so remember being really jealous! I realised that I really enjoyed it when I was around 6. I'm not sure what it was then than made me pursue it so energetically but it was just something that I could do and enjoy so i did. I didn't really start taking it seriously until I was 10/11 and by then I was in love and couldn't let go!



C.S. What makes singing a-cappella with The Beautiful Machine so special?


E.S. All of the singers in the Beautiful Machine are brilliant. A-cappella singing can be very challenging but we all work very hard together to create a wonderful sound. When done well it is beauty in it's purest form and I am very privileged to be able to sing with such a uniquely talented group of people. Wishy washy but true!



C.S. Tell us a bit about why you like to work with Jen Bell


E.S. Firstly, Jen is a lovely person and for that reason alone it is great to work with her, but there is much more to the way that she operates and directs. She seems to search for the best in you and encourage you to work with yourself in order to bring it out. She definitely sees the whole picture-not just what is in front of her. Her music is also brilliant. It is inventive, melodically innovative and full of glorious harmonies and rhythmical delights that really are a gift to sing.



C.S. What would you like to find when you sing with organisations such as DAC Beachcroft?


E.S. People who are exactly like us. People who love singing because it makes their insides tingle and flutter so much that they lose control (even if just for a moment). There is something wonderful about singing with other people and not everyone gets a chance to do it as often as they like. I just hope that they get as much out of it as we do.



C.S. Which Bread & Butter song do you relate to the most and why?


E.S. Either Jellyfish or Heroes. The second part of Heroes really reflects a huge turning point in my life, being gay and finding that other people weren't as happy about it as I was but carrying on because I knew it was right. And Jellyfish just makes me feel like a child again. The seaside was one of the very few places where I could let go when I was young-some days I didn't want to leave. This makes it very special for me to sing.



C.S. What kind of music do you listen to today?


E.S. Yummy question! At the moment I am mostly listening to Bjork, Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams, Regina Spektor, Tom Waits, Bellowhead, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Mountain Man, Led Zeppelin, Rodrigo Y Gabriella, Coco Rosie and Antony and The Johnsons. Mostly...



C.S. What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?


E.S. I don't have an MP3 player but if you were to raid my spotify or youtube then you would definitely find:


Dusty Springfield - I only want to be with you


Doris Day - secret love


Petula Clark - baby lover



What can I say, I have a bit of a soft spot for awful, moronically melodic love songs for years gone by.



C.S. What genre of music can't you stand to listen to?


E.S. Awful modern pop music which is just regurgitated awful slightly older pop music. That and acid house-not really my thing!



C.S. Cake or death?


E.S. Ummmmmm, I believe that cake would be preferable to death in most circumstances, this one included, so I'll go for cake please.

By Jennifer Bell Company, Oct 23 2014 02:35PM

C.S. When did you first start singing and why?


A.M. I first started properly singing and working on my voice over 20 years ago when I began writing my own songs and learning a few covers. It was a natural progression from (moody) indie/goth noodling around on my guitar, to discovering folk music and learning some finger picking techniques. The first song I learnt to sing and play was Hiring Fair by Ralph McTell. Fantastic song! I can recall finding it really challenging and uncomfortable at first, but just carried on after people kept on giving me compliments (good old ego...).


C.S. What makes singing a-cappella with The Beautiful Machine so special?


A.M. Jen's wonderful music, warmth, talent and direction (as well as being an all-round top person!) and singing with accomplished singers (who are equally splendid!). The accuracy needed to sing Jen's compositions is deceptively tricky and the challenge to do so brings with it fantastic reward. I think that any ensemble where there is just one singer per part brings a special quality in terms of tone and tightness. It also adds to the story within a song in a way that larger ensembles perhaps struggle with. Maybe this is due to how exposing it can be. It can very very intimate.


C.S. Tell us a bit about why you like to work with Jen Bell


A.M. See above! Along with this, Jen is a skilled singer in her own right and has developed considerable knowledge in voice work. I think her focus upon constantly improving the voice comes through in everything that she does. It is infectious. She is passionate about quality in a way that constantly pushes us to the best of our abilities. That and her silliness.


C.S. What would you like to find when you sing with organisations such as DAC Beachcroft?


A.M. It's wonderful when people from businesses want to get involved. It's about connection and embracing the ideas and stories within the project. It then becomes more than just a performance piece; it's about engaging with others in a slightly different way to what one would normally expect.


C.S. Which Bread & Butter song do you relate to the most and why?


A.M. Tough... If I were to choose one, maybe Jellyfish. It's just that childhood innocence thing and being transported back in time.


C.S. What kind of music do you listen to today?


A.M. It varies enormously. I'm a sucker for a great melody in any genre. Do you want some names? OK... Metronomy, This Is The Kit, Gillian Welch, Half Moon Run and The Divine Comedy have all featured in the last year of my life's soundtrack.


C.S. What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?


A.M. There might be some Queen creeping in, but I'm not embarrassed! I also have a weakness for the first two Coldplay albums.


C.S. If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?


A.M. Weeping. Melodically.


C.S. What genre of music can't you stand to listen to?


A.M. I can struggle with some Heavy Metal sub-genres. I guess I'm just not angry enough...


C.S. Cake or death?


A.M. Even if there is some kind of afterlife, I bet there'll be no cake. Cake it is.