Left-field acoustic music from Northampton’s wayward ladies.
Invocal are an all female acoustic act that perform with cello, guitar and four harmonious voices. Their unique sound has been described as having “dark gypsy folk tugging from one side and an all out west end musical tugging from another”. The songs tell tales of modern life with caustic and bawdy humour, powerful and moving lyrics and (most days) expert musical prowess
The band have toured the UK, France, Germany and republic of Ireland. They enjoy playing events such as Cambridge Folk Festival, Shambala, Brighton Pride, London Pride, Priddy Folk Festival and array of cool small folk festivals, theatres, dodgy bars and playhouses.
Invocal’s 2006 debut album “Uneven Keel” received excellent reviews in the press and on the UK folk/acoustic scene, reviewers favouring their restless musical arrangements, heartfelt honesty, wicked wit and genuine originality.
From this point the band began touring in earnest, honing their on stage performance and creating the musical tightness and energy that wows their audiences today.
In 2009 the band produced another 12 track album “I’ve Tried Saying No to the Slugs”. This release sees them stepping up a gear in terms of studio creativity, with tracks such as the epic Where the Gotten Go being described as ‘jaw-droppingly powerful’. The album also includes the highly acclaimed live favourite “Cheer Up, Frowny Face” – their theatrical tragic-comic mockery of those ignorant to the issues of mental illness.
When Sarah Moloney left the band shortly after this release, the band were delighted to welcome Bee Church as a new vocalist, adding a powerful new edge to the band.
In late 2009 Invocal made their first ever, no expense spared music video for the track ‘Bubblewrap’, which is a must see for all fans of bubblewrap, steam trains and gingham.
In 2010, Invocal continue travelling around the country performing new and classic material to their ever growing fanbase. They have just released a 5 track EP entitled ‘Strange Sugar’ which gives a preview of their forthcoming album, plus two songs recorded live in concert. The band are under new management and are excited to share their unique music with the whooole worrrrld!
Meet the band
Rosie Swayne – Vocals / Guitar
Rosie writes the songs for Invocal, plays guitar and sings alto vocals. She started learning classical guitar at the age of 9, when her ambitions in life were to either become like Brian May, or to marry her cat. By 9 and a half her added maturity and understanding of the world helped her realise that one of these ambitions was stupid.
Ten years later Tiggy died of furballs leaving Rosie a widower at the age of 19. She poured her emotional energy into songwriting, and pressured her new college mate Rachel Duncan to help sing her heartfelt songs of woe. So began a great friendship and the tiny seeds of an uncommonly good band.
Rosie’s inimitable style is influenced by the likes of Bowie, Pink Floyd, Chumbawumba, Nina Simone, The B-52’s, The Beatles, Kirsty MacColl, Tori Amos, Joan Baez as well as the Baroque & Classical greats. And Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. And the Thundercats theme tune. And Queen – there I’ve said it.
Her other talent is The Caterpillar.
Rachel Duncan – Vocals / Percussion / Mandolin
Rachel started her career as a foetus… then at the tender age of 6 in Aberdeen she undertook a glamorous debut solo performance of the musically complex aria “Away in a Manger” on Grampian Television and soared from these heady heights to singing in various pre-Invocal stylings as dictated by the mood swings of Miss Rosie.
Classically trained, Rachel has sung in a wide range of contexts and genres from opera at Holland Park, progressive dance melodies in a night club with a sticky floor, company jingles with dubious lyrics to infrequent bouts of karaoke at local pubs, usually for money or beer or both. She now attempts to play the mandolin with varying levels of success. She is also a committed academic, achieving a PhD in feminist performance art.
Her special talents include singing, space hoppers, list-making and keeping paper flat. Her special talents do not include mandolin, sharing food or walking anywhere ever at any time.
Helen Turton – Cello / Vocals
Helen Turton has multiple lives. In one of them she plays the ‘cello in Invocal. She has been doing this for quite a long time. She remembers ‘the tractor photographs’, a monster truck gig, and the rest is something of a blur. Aside from awesome cello power, her talents include driving the Invocal ‘almost a bus’ car, and she is the undisputed buyer of the best holiday tat. Returning from Israel having purchased sachets of the actual Holy Land will be hard to top, even though nobody had previously thought the upmarket fornicating china bananas could be beaten.
Helen is also the band’s official photographer and she enjoys getting the other members of the band into unusual and often embarrassing situations for the sake of her art. She particularly liked the tree hugging and toilet sitting shots for the album artwork of “I’ve Tried Saying No To The Slugs”, especially when it was agreed the tights should come down.
Helen loves playing the cello but is still waiting for the ‘Yo Yo Ma’ button. She will continue to ask every sound technician until her dream is fulfilled.
We don’t talk about her vocals.
Bee Church – Vocals / Percussion
Aside from being a fantastic singer, Bee is also very good at drinking, being a model (of the nude variety), spending more money than she has, writing songs, playing guitar, wishing she lived in medieval times and not being able to remember anything about her education in social science.
She is the newest member of the band, and therefore the most popular with the other members by default.
Bee was very much enjoying being a chicken farmer until a fox ate them, twice.
The Invocal Farm has benefitted from the talents of some wonderful musicians.
Debbie Frayling – Cajon / Oboe
Debbie first developed her fascination with musical instruments when, as a child, she witnessed a freak playground accident involving a recorder and a friend’s tooth. After reluctantly accepting that musical violence is neither big nor clever (and that Peter and The Wolf isn’t REALLY about attempted murder), she became involved with the local music scene, entertaining parents, teachers and enthusiastic committee members, and consuming large quantities of sponge cake.
Her musical skills were preserved for future generations on Invocal’s 2009 release “Strange Sugar”.
Sarah Moloney – Vocals / Clarinet
Sarah’s theatrical and musical skills were suited perfectly to Invocal, but her tap dancing only brought misery and confusion. For a fleeting moment, Sarah showed signs of a diverse songwriting talent, her astonishing debut “Horse In A Box” on from the 2006 album “Uneven Keel”, was followed up with “Horse In Some Socks” which enjoyed critical acclaim from some people. Sarah left the band in 2008 to make a baby, and now runs her own drama school, Northampton’s Helen O’Grady Drama Academy.
Lucy Townsend – Vocals
Lucy sang in the band with Rachel and Rosie in the first incarnations of the band, including one creatively entitled “Rosie, Lucy and Rachel”, and sang on Invocal’s first recording “Simple Things”. She is now a dance teacher and a mum of two human children. Invocal are looking forward to playing at her wedding in May!