UK Tour with David Thomas Broughton

Juice are very pleased to announce that they will be touring new material with singer-songwriter David Thomas Broughton throughout September 2014 from their new collaborative album, ‘Sliding the Same Way’. Released on ‘Song by Toad’ on 12th September, it is available for pre-order HERE!  See the Future Events page for more information.

'Sliding the Same Way' available for pre-order from 'Song by Toad'

‘Sliding the Same Way’ available for pre-order from ‘Song by Toad’

Laid Bare: Love Songs – Album reviews!

4 star review from The Times and 5 stars from Sinfini Music and So So Gay Magazine: 

So So Gay said:

“It’s rare that an album hits our desks here at So So Gay that turns out to be literally flawless…Therein lies the threesome’s greatest innate gift: the ability to take a piece of work seemingly so at odds with what one would expect classically trained singers to attempt and turn it into something astonishing…a rare feat of musical genius in a musical world saturated by conveyor belt talent show pop puppets and generic mass-produced pseudo-house…this album goes beyond simple harmonisation, packing a killer punch with its breadth and depth.” Blimey !

Read the full article HERE!

Sinfini Music said:

Laid Bare: Love Songs trawls the post-postmodern condition in search of fresh things to say about an eternal subject. Its contents, deal with strong emotions, digging beneath than the self-interested surface of sexual passion to reveal parts of the psyche usually clothed in darkness.” Cor!

Read the full article HERE! 

The Times said:

“quirky, wry and virtuosically genre-hopping”  Whoop! And here’s a pic….

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Spring reviews

5 star review for the fantastic Emulsion Festival III at Village Underground from The Arts Desk:

“Juice, a (mostly) unaccompanied female vocal trio, played the first full set, a blend of original commissions and their own arrangements of pop songs, including the Rihanna piece. Technically capable of both angular contemporary classical pieces and gooey extruded pop lyrics, their covers are stripped of familiar saccharine arrangements, to create a completely revitalised arrangement that revels in the naked beauty of human voice.”

And a lovely review of our Vale of Glamorgan Festival concert from Wales Art Review:

“Juice, are consummate musicians, and together they can tease out the most subtle and intricate of colours, harmonies and rhythms in the songs they sing. Their command of extended vocal techniques is superb and I love hearing them sing together.”

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Happy International Women’s Day to Wonder Women Everywhere!

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The Original 1941 Wonder Woman!

In ‘Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines’, a documentary film screened to launch the Birds Eye View Film Festival, juice learned that the creator of ‘Wonder Woman’, William Moulton Marston, in 1941, envisaged a world 100 years hence that would be entirely ruled by women. Well, we’re not quite there yet girls but there’s still time…

There were so few female role models in the comic books and cartoons when we were growing up during the 1980’s, that we threw ourselves in desperation at the only ones available even if they were in some way compromised or undermined in the way they were controlled by (male) media executives. Both He-man’s sister, She-rah and pop-star/super-spy, Jem were rubbished which we felt was a little harsh as they were all we’d had! But we later bonded over our love of Cheetara from ‘Thundercats’, whose backflips I once tried to imitate in the living room much to my mother’s distress when I fatally wounded her beloved indoor bay tree…

People often ask juice our opinions on gender and music, why they are seemingly so few well-known female conductors/composers, why women are so under-represented in musical compositional history.  We say that, yes, women’s contribution in the history of classical music has been severely neglected and are often still treated very differently by their male counterparts (the Vasily Petrenko incident being a good example of this). We like to commission as many new pieces as we can from female composers, not because they are women, but because their music is amazing. We commission just as many men.

We have faced misconceptions as a group. People often say that they didn’t know what to expect from three young women on stage and that we blew away their pre-conceptions. We once auditioned for a concert series very early in our career and were expecting questions on our programmes and repertoire and instead got asked just one question before being ceremoniously dismissed…why we were all wearing different coloured shoes…

As recently as last Christmas I received a ‘jokey’ comment about juice. After describing our line up, their very first comment was..’Lesbians?’ Because, yes, OBVIOUSLY, the thought of three women wanting to work and perform together without the help of any man is clearly a ridiculous concept and therefore we MUST be passionately in love with each other and MUST be gay.

In the photoshoot for our latest album, (due for release late spring) we had a dilemma. We were all wearing these white chiffon blouses but none of us had thought about the sheerness of the material or how that might affect our choice of bra…After descending rapidly into hysteria during the shoot, we’re now busy editing out any traces of visible nipple (or what I’ve seen rather hilariously described online as ‘smuggle peas’ – I hate peas and would certainly never try and smuggle them anywhere). But this whole episode led to us asking some very interesting questions about how we see ourselves and how women are portrayed or treated differently in the arts.

Last week both Kerry and myself had our music performed by students at Cardiff University and I was interviewed by BBC Radio Wales on the matter of programming works by women. The arguments that concert programmers shouldn’t make female composers ‘tokens’ or that it prejudices against male composers or that gender shouldn’t override artistic merit all seem ridiculous to me when we’ve been in such the vast minority for the best part of nearly 2000 years of classical music history and there have been plenty of male compositional misfires during that period!

Right, now I’ve gotten all that off my chest….(oh, haha.)

Don’t give up the fight!

InTuneLast week heralded two big musical events for us. Firstly, ‘Heal You’, our first ever single was released by Nonclassical to lovely reviews and played on Radio 3′s ‘In Tune’. Listen to the full interview here (Sarah’s on at about 37mins in). Look out for a second single and album release late Spring.

Secondly, we premiered ‘The Girls Who Wished to Marry Stars’, a new work by Luke Styles for juice and contemporary jazz group, Tangent, at LICA, an amazing arts centre at the University of Lancaster. This was the musical premiere, with three dancers being added to the mix for our performances at Southbank and Glasgow in July and August. It tells the Native American story of three young girls who want to get hitched so badly that they fly up into the sky and marry some stars. Unfortunately, the stars don’t seem to match their high expectations and, getting rapidly bored, they gaze longingly down to earth to try and ensnare some new and very different husbands, namely a bear, a snake and a wolverine.

The work is part of a larger project entitled ‘New Music Biennial’ organised by the PRSF supporting 20 new commissions to celebrate the arrival of the Commonwealth Games to the UK. During times of austerity, programmes such as this are vital to our economy, as proven last year by a report that said the Arts is worth more than £850m to the UK (read it in full here). Now, my usual juice blogs are normally full of light-hearted revelry…and this one will be no different in some respects! However, I feel so passionately about the following topic that I had to commit fingers to keypad.

Now, being performed simultaneously in the theatre next door, that very same evening, was ‘The Vagina Monologues’, an annual student event run to raise money to end violence against women and girls. In its twelfth year, a fantastic achievement, we discovered that it very nearly didn’t start at all, the University initially saying that the word ‘vagina’ had no place being displayed anywhere in public on campus or in university buildings. My reaction to hearing this was to make me want to run around screaming the word ‘vagina’ relentlessly (hmmm…maybe I can get it into a juice piece?!). Why would any academic institution be so ridiculous? And how brilliant is it that female students fought against that stupid decision and can now go about happily selling ‘chocolate vagina lollipops’?

However, what is even more ludicrous is that Lancaster University is shutting its Music Department at the end of this year. The ‘management’ had this to say:

“Lancaster recognises the importance of music as a discipline to draw on within the wider arts, and is investing in the arts while retaining disciplinary expertise in music. While there will not be a single major degree in music, there will still be teaching in the broad area of music available across arts degrees at Lancaster. A wealth of UK and international artists of the highest calibre come to Lancaster every year in public programmes of professional theatre, dance, exhibitions and concerts. This will continue in the future.”

Lancaster is not unusual in making this decision. UEA also shut their utterly brilliant Music Department not that long ago, to outcry from musicians all around the country. However, there are many academic institutions bucking the trend, investing and expanding their departments, a good example being the University of Kent .

I will testify that LICA’s Great Hall is a brilliant venue, the front of house team fantastically well-organised and the sound technicians excellent. The public audience were very appreciative…but where were the students? The support that the university management claim they give to the arts centre, failed to materialize. The fact that they had some of the UK’s foremost young artists presenting classical, jazz and contemporary music in their Great Hall should have been something that they celebrated in their University and involved students in heavily. Where is the joy in not doing so?

Lancaster University needs to help its students develop their appreciation of the beauty in the world around them by enabling them to attend music events which inspire them, regardless of their field of study. As many studies have proven, music improves learning, concentration – in short, it makes you brainier! Our own government has even supported this notion, saying:

“Arts and culture strengthen communities, bringing people together and removing social barriers. Involving young people in the arts increases their academic performance, encourages creativity, and supports talent.”

Now, I see the irony in a government stating its support for subjects that it also undermines with funding cuts but it’s even more ironic that UK University administrators see Music departments as dead weight when in fact investing in them would raise not only the University profile but improve academic results.

I feel proud of our achievements in commissioning a great new piece and forming a lasting partnership with a very different ensemble. It breaks my heart to think that students will no longer be able to pursue a musical career by studying at Lancaster when our studies at the University of York formed such a solid foundation for our own.