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    Belinda Sykes RIP

    It was with such sadness that I heard of Belinda’s death last autumn. Today on Hannah French’s early music show on BBC Radio 3 you could hear why she was such a force in early music and why her death is so desperately sad and such a huge loss to the early music world.

    The first tine I heard Joglaresea, the group she founded, was at Holy Trinity in the East End, round about the time I started to write the Hildegard of Meaux medieval suspense series.

    The group burst onto the stage with their wild music that so wonderfully captures the way we imagine those early troubadours travelling between Christian Europe and the Muslim middle east.

    It was fascinating just now to hear that The Du fay Collective who you can hear on this website were early collaborators in her aim to promote a fusion between east and west, just as it would have been in the fourteenth century. Another unxpected point of contact for me in those years in the 90’s and later was the ‘voice of brass’ singing technique of middle Europe which was given as a workshop in Wales at that time. Could it have been Belinda running it? I cannot remember now but I can say that I am not a singer and was pretty useless but they coaxed a voice out of me somehow and it was almost as exhilirating as writing a novel!

    This afternoon since the programme ended I’ve been trying to defy Norton, and all the other hoops required in order to put up a blog on here and have only just managed to get something down. My intention was to give you the links to her music but that will have to come later now. Very soon, I hope, so watch this space as I seem (fingers crossed) to have got it to work.

    Briefly, the good news is that Joglaresa intends to continue Belinda’s fabulous work. Joglaresa forever! A brilliant epitaph for a brilliant and exciting world musician.