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THE KIMBERLEYS' STORY

The Kimberleys are Isobel and Jim Kimberley. Yorkshire born Isobel, as a singer songwriter, met Essex boy Jim while seeking instrumentalists to collaborate on her original material. Isobel’s folk influences were gathered from an early age, initially in the folk clubs of Yorkshire, at university (where she opened for Dick Gaughan) and subsequently during time living in the USA. Jim became a session drummer on moving to London and he numbered several folk musicians among his connections, one of which lead to him depping on drums with The Albion Band.

 

Whilst recording and touring Isobel’s original songs, the pair had always enjoyed making folk music just between themselves so, once the original project had run its course, it seemed an obvious step to take folk music more seriously. As a plan, this could not have got off to a better start. At a friend's birthday party they met, and sang with, Cathy Lesurf (Fairport Convention, Fiddlers Dram). This fortuitous meeting led to the recording of an album (Turn The Glass) and the happy opportunity of working with some real folk big beasts: Gordon Giltrap, Andy Cutting and even Dave Swarbrick. The album featured in the Daily Telegraph’s Top Folk Albums of 2015 and a short run of live shows brought that era to a close.

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With Gary Southwell, Andy Cutting, and Cathy LeSurf

By now Isobel and Jim had become The Kimberleys (him by birth, her by marriage) and they had the material and the experience to go it alone. The result was their eponymous debut album, partially recorded at their home studio in Blackheath and completed at Tiny Studios in Leicester. Their ability to create daringly creative arrangements of well loved ballads, whilst remaining completely respectful to the origins of the song, immediately attracted attention and appreciation. The video Isobel made with an independent animator for The Kimberleys' interpretation of Tam Lin won the “People's Choice” award from Sky Arts in 2018.

In the intervening time Isobel and Jim have continued running their Roving Folk Club in Greenwich and Bromley, they have programmed a one day folk festival at repurposed convent Mycenae House, London. Live gigs have taken them to France, Belgium, the US and all over the British Isles, from the Isle of Skye to Sidmouth, in folk clubs and concert venues. Live appearances have been widely recognised as on a par with their recordings and their relaxed onstage personae contribute to stunning shows.

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With Robert Vincent

The Kimberleys second album, The Shape of a Year, is now ready for release. Many of the songs may be familiar but the arrangements are daring and the atmospheres positively cinematic. A worthy follow up to a tremendous beginning.

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