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What's All About Katie All About?
Welcome to All About Katie. This site is an appreciation of Katie Melua - the beautiful and talented singer-songwriter with the caramel eyes and sublime voice, and the finest interpreter of a song I have ever heard.
It is also a repository of information about her music, DVDs, videos, tour dates, images, and anything else of interest to her fans. I have put my heart and soul into this project. Katie has given me so much and this is my way of saying thank-you. I hope Ketefans all over the world will find something interesting here about our favourite artist. Enjoy!
Any opinions expressed here are mine, not Katie's!!
16.12.18 > O Holy Night!
Here's another Christmassy Katie fix for you. Now, everyone has covered this carol. No, really - I'm pretty sure I heard my neighbour's cat having a crack at it during the night. But here is the definitive version...
15.12.18 > A random thought on collaboration
Now that the 2018 Tour is done and dusted and Ultimate Collection is padding out stockings around the country, I can sit back with the mulled wine and drift into dreamland pondering possible future directions Katie might wander off in. And given the success of her collaboration with the Gori Women's Choir and the influence of traditional Georgian folk music, I wondered if traditional English folk music would prove an interesting pasture for Katie to stop and graze for a while (that's a metaphor, not me calling her a cow). Now, there has long been a stigma attached to English folk music; it tends to conjure images of people in dubious hats singing lustily, with a finger stuck in one ear, about buxom barmaids, while said buxom barmaids pour pints of scrumpy cider for the permanently inebriated gathering of devotees. Fortunately, that image is starting to fade thanks to some truly talented artists such as Kate Rusby who have given the kiss of life to traditional English folk music. But I don't quite see Kate and Katie fitting together. Rather, it is the haunting sound of the little-known Northumbrian pipes that intrigue me. Far less attacking on the ear than bagpipes, Northumbrian pipes are closer to Ireland's uilleann pipes in tone and give a similar distinctive feel to the music. The greatest champion of this wonderful instrument is Kathryn Tickell. I saw her live many years ago and she was wonderful; it was a night that made me realise that English traditional music was actually a thing. Kathryn composes new music as well, and - here's the thing - collaborates with other artists, most notably Sting. She has performed live with him and played on six of his albums. So I can't help but wonder what Katie would be inspired to produce adding her vocals and guitar to Kathryn's distinctive pipes. Guitar does work with pipes - check out Mark Knopfler's beautiful soundtrack "Music from the film 'Cal'" to see that. As for Kathryn, there's plenty of her work available on iTunes and Amazon. "The Best of Kathryn Tickell" is probably a good place to start, while "Strange But True" has an element of jazz to it which might be an easier slide-in for fans of Katie's early work. For now I'll just add this little fantasy to my growing wish list of things I'd like to see Katie do. I did try showing the list to Santa; he just laughed, then handed me a satsuma and told me to dream on. Which is exactly what I do...
15.12.18 > Katie Bite: A Time To Buy
14.12.18 > Gallery update > York 2018
There are now some photos from Katie's gig at the Barbican, York on December 12th in the Gallery section > York 2018
14.12.18 > Thank you, Katie! გმადლობთ, ქეთი
Let's give a massive thank you to Katie, the band, and of course, the sublime Gori Women's Choir. You gave thousands of fans an experience they will never forget; an evening to escape the troubles of the world and float into an ethereal dreamland where everyone is wrapped in a magical cloak of love and peace. It was music to uplift our souls and give us renewed energy to cope with our turbulent times. I hope you can now take a well-earned break and revel in the remainder of the festive season and I know you will be bringing even more joy to the world in 2019.
Image via @katiemeluaofficial on Instagram
13.12.18 > Thank you, Keeva!
A shout out to the lovely Keeva, who has supported Katie on this tour and been very warmly received. Her website is a little light on content for now, https://www.keeva-music.com/, but you can find her on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/keevamusic , Twitter (@KeevaMusic), and Instagram (keevamusic).
She looks a bit like Katie with glasses. Tad taller though. Here's a nugget for you > the proper Irish spelling for Keeva is Caoimhe . Yeah, I know. In Georgian, if you learn to pronounce the alphabet you can pronounce any written word; good luck with that in Irish. That's why Eithne became Enya and her sister eventually relented and swapped Máire Brennan for Moya Brennan (she was actually born Máire Ní Bhraonáin - make sure your dentures are well glued before attempting that). ქეთევან მელუა may look more terrifying but if you have learnt that alphabet then "Ketevan Melua" will roll off your tongue perfectly!
13.12.18 > York Barbican, 12.12.18
Two hundred miles of driving on a cold winters’ evening. The little devil on my shoulder was taunting me, questioning whether Katie was worth going to see again less than ten days after I saw her in Nottingham. I lowered the car window and with a well-timed flick sent the little crittur flying out in to the chilly night. The angel on my other shoulder sniggered. She knew the truth - of course Katie was worth it! I would drive 500 miles. And I would drive 500 more. Just to be the one that drove a 1000 miles to… hang on, there could be a song in this. Anyway, I talked to some people around me who proclaimed to love Katie yet hadn’t even heard of “In Winter”. I told them to prepare to be blown away. They all were. Several times during the evening I turned and looked at the audience. Every time I saw the same thing; they were spellbound. The guy next to me kept looking at me and shaking his head in disbelief at what he was hearing. The verdict was unanimous. Katie was better than they had expected and the Gori Women’s Choir were simply a revelation. During the encore there was a slightly premature standing ovation, which Katie observed with bemused patience before calmly delivering the final line of the song. (To be fair, a heavily pregnant pause in live music is always a risk with eager applauders around.)
This was show 36 of 37. You would expect everyone to be flagging a little and going through the motions. There was no sign of that. The quality of performance was identical to the Nottingham show nine days earlier. True professionalism. And on to Edinburgh tomorrow to conclude a triumphant tour that will long stay in the memory of everyone involved with it. The audiences will never forget it. Apparently, the previous big event at York Barbican had been a snooker competition. I’d much rather watch Katie sing than a bunch of men poking their balls with a stick. Each to their own.
If You Are So Beautiful
(The eagle-eyed among you may be thinking "Maybe I Dreamt It" - where's that from? Indeed. I suggest you keep watching this space. Well, not that space specifically, I mean this blog in general.)
(Love that dress - matches my site theme perfectly!)
12.12.18 > Track Notes 35: Perfect Circle
11.12.18 > New tour dates: Summer 2019 in Europe
Katie will be performing in Austria, Hungary, Estonia and Germany during July and August of 2019. Tickets are on sale now! Dates and venues here.
11.12.18 > The Steve Wright Show
On his afternoon show last Wednesday, broadcasting legend Steve Wright tried to tell Katie how incredible her voice was. She wasn’t really having any of it. I can understand why. Of course she is aware she has something special. Mike Batt heard it instantly. Terry Wogan heard it instantly. The millions who bought Call Off The Search heard it instantly. None of them were wrong. She has sung for Nelson Mandela. She has sung for the Queen. She has even sung with Queen. These things do not happen by accident.
But believing your own hype is a dangerous escalator to ride on. Katie knows this; she got whisked a long way up and had to make her own way down. It was a scary wake-up call for her and it is little wonder she chooses to remain firmly grounded these days. Not everyone finds a way off that relentless escalator. Karen Carpenter died at just 32 after the pressures of her career led to her battle with anorexia nervosa - a condition that wasn’t understood in the 70’s and by the time she sought treatment it proved too little too late. So it is a wise course of action for Katie to shield herself from the fawning adulation of fans and interviewees alike. She is not immune from bad reviews and Twitter trolls either. In the words of Kipling, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same...” - Katie does just that. Which is why I can write the next paragraph safe in the knowledge it will slip off her shoulders like water off a duck’s back, though I hope it will get filed away in some distant corner of her mind to be recalled in later life with quiet satisfaction.
Steve Wright was right. Katie, your voice is unique. You can interpret a song like no other. You stand shoulder to shoulder with Eva Cassidy and Karen Carpenter. They would have embraced you as their equal and been as much in awe of your talent as you are of theirs. The hard work and dedication you have applied to your craft since childhood has earned you the right to be mentioned in the same breath as anyone. (Okay, you can take your fingers out of your ears and stop saying”la la la la la” now).
10.12.18 > 2018 Tour Almost Done!
Come on Katie, four nights in a row now to end the tour! That's got to be brutal, but by Friday you'll be able to kick back and join the rest of us in festive frolics. And you'll be able to snuggle up with James in front of the fire and reflect on what a stunning tour it has been. Across Europe and the UK people have been blown away by you, the band and the astonishing Gori Women's Choir and left with the memory of a magical night they'll never forget.
By the way, there are just a handful of tickets left for York on Wednesday. They are all "obscured view" - at forty-odd quid you might think they cost an arm and a leg considering that's probably all you'll see of Katie but I promise you she'll sound amazing from anywhere in the room.
UPDATE: As of 6pm there are just 4 tickets left. Five minutes ago it was 5. Okay, I know, sometimes I'm a little impulsive. Hey Siri, how do I get to York Barbican?
10.12.18 > Katie Bite: Perfect World
10.12.18 > Review of Westminster concert, 08.12.18
A nice review by Liz Thomson at The Arts Desk of Katie's London concert on Saturday >>> Georgia on her mind
09.12.18 > This Year's Love
One of the dances on Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing was performed to the David Gray song "This Year's Love". If you want to know how it should really sound then listen to Katie's version on "B-Sides: The Tracks That Got Away". Thankfully, this album is available on iTunes even though it wasn't released on CD (actually, I think it was in Japan. God knows what the thinking was here. If I'd been running Dramatico nothing Katie recorded would have got away. She could sing Donald Trump's tax return and have me in bits).
"B-Sides" is the worst named of all of Katie's albums. Clever Batt-esque wordplay, yes, but it implies second-rate material when in fact it is stuffed full of treasures. If "Market Day In Guernica" doesn't move you to tears it is a good indication that you are probably an assassin. Check it out at iTunes (click the image) or on Amazon.
09.12.18 > Baby, It's Cold Outside
This version will never be beaten. Sorry Zooey, Katie stole your cigar...
08.12.18 > Lyric card: Scary Films
07.12.18 > Katie Bite: Dreams On Fire
07.12.18 > Thoughts on Ultimate Collection
I now have Katie’s latest offering on vinyl, CD and digital. It is probably time I said a few words about it. This isn’t a review as such, since the songs are not new to me, even Diamonds Are Forever, which I saw her perform for a BBC James Bond special a few years ago (an evening which may well have led to her collaboration with Don Black on Dreams On Fire).
My initial reaction to the announcement of UC was, “oh, I already have all this material, I probably don’t need to buy it”; of course, that was never going to be an option. There shall be no holes in my KM collection! But there will be fans thinking along similar lines and wondering whether they need to buy this album. Well, for one thing there is that stunning version of Diamonds Are Forever, which is worth the price alone in my opinion, and also a sumptuous new recording of Bridge Over Troubled Water with the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra. You also get the studio recordings of Wonderful Life and Fields Of Gold, which were previously only available as live tracks on the Special Edition of In Winter.
In this digital age we can all make our own playlist of our favourite tracks. But what is interesting is that if you’d asked every fan to pick their top thirty tracks no two lists would be the same. This album represents Katie’s list; none of us would have chosen the exact same songs. The fact that it is her personal choice adds an extra layer of interest. I’m sure most of us will be thinking “how could she leave such-and-such out”. I don’t imagine it was easy to pick just thirty - I wouldn’t want that job. If it had been left to me UC would have been a 7-CD set. I find it fascinating trying to analyse her choices. I have a handle on many of them but there were still a few surprises. And I was so relieved to find What I Miss About You in there, one of my favourite KM tracks.
Of course, I have been looking at it from a real Ketefan’s perspective so far. But this kind of compilation is generally targeted at the more occasional fan, and it does serve as a perfect introduction to Katie’s work for that audience. I can imagine it nestling under many a Christmas tree in the days ahead and it is a gift that is not likely to disappoint anyone. Hopefully it will lead to an upward spike in Katie’s back catalogue in the New Year as people realise what they have been missing.
If I have one issue with Ultimate Collection it is the title. It is a generic title commonly used these days, along with “The Essential…” and the problem is it doesn’t really work with an active artist. Katie is already working on a new album and the moment that sees the light of day Ultimate Collection becomes an erroneous title. It reminds me of the book “Mostly Harmless” by Douglas Adams, which had written on the cover “the fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers trilogy”.
UC in numbers
There are 28 tracks from Katie’s seven studio albums, broken down as follows:
Piece By Piece
Call Off The Search
Make of that what you will, though it is difficult not to suspect Secret Symphony could be Katie’s least favourite album ;-) There's nothing at all from B-Sides, the (bafflingly) download-only gem which included the beautiful Market Day In Guernica and ridiculously catchy Straight To DVD. Interesting too that seven out of the ten songs on In Winter have been included. It is her masterpiece in my opinion so I have no arguments with the decision, but commercially it could be considered risky for those back catalogue sales. It’s further proof that Katie is all about the music and not the money. And talking of the music, Mike Batt wrote/co-wrote 9 of the tracks whereas Katie wrote/co-wrote 12. She still doesn’t get enough credit for her song-writing. (Except from me, naturally!)
06.12.18 > "Fields of Gold" live at Nottingham, 3.12.18
06.12.18 > Ketevan
Katie has released seven studio albums. I wondered if I could write a poem to celebrate them. Here is my attempt.
Are you Katie or Ketevan? Can anything be better than Kartvelebi or English rose? The best of both I suppose Tie a ribbon for a wish A sweet national dish Georgian or British Someone to cherish With looks that ravish And songs that astonish Time to Call Off The Search My heart once was broken But words you have spoken Put the pieces back together And fixed me forever That thing that you do It's like emotional glue I haven't a clue But your heart is so true I feel fresh and new That's all down to you Restoring me Piece By Piece Your beauty is beyond compare With flowing locks of raven hair Cascading down around your face A wild frame for your timeless grace And those caramel eyes That can't tell lies But mesmerize And induce my sighs Like a hidden prize Or a sweet surprise Revealed in Pictures Some days I ponder on my own Wondering why I have a phone That sits in silence day on end Not a word from my imaginary friend But I see your face in a vision Every detail with clear precision Then I make my big decision I don't need that television Overcome my sad condition Entirely of my own volition I will leave The House A voice so pure it makes you cry Yet feel so happy you could die And takes you places far away Then whispers things you long to say Captured by a heartfelt phrase Sold in many subtle ways That delight and amaze And lift you for days Like a sudden craze Or repeated plays Of a Secret Symphony Your passion always rings true Every time I hear you You may be far away Yet you're with me every day Perhaps I don't exist But you're top of my list How could I resist? For all that I have missed My heart is in a twist And my soul has been kissed By Ketevan In the dark depths of winter When hope starts to splinter Your songs are like a warm caress The cold? The rain? Could I care less? Music like a soft embrace Smiles returning to my face Joy in every place At one with time and space Dreary thoughts that you replace Gone without a trace I'm content In Winter Craig Warhurst, 2017
05.12.18 > All About Katie is Secure!!!
Just so you're not up all night worrying, I can confirm that All About Katie is now a secure site! Not that it was a major issue since you'll never be asked for personal details here, but really I just wanted to see a little padlock in the address bar. If you don't see the padlock you need to make sure you are at https://www.allaboutkatie.co.uk/default.htm (Note it is https and not http)
05.12.18 > Gallery update > Nottingham 2018
There are now some photos from Katie's gig at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham on December 3rd in the Gallery section > Nottingham 2018
04.12.18 > Nottingham 2018
Thank you Katie for your kind words about my little fan site! It means the world to me and was completely unexpected. It is so lovely how you make starstruck fans feel at ease in a way that only those with the purest of hearts are able to do.
The concert was spellbinding and though I was expecting to be mesmerised by you, which I was, I was blown over, almost literally, by the power of the Gori Women's Choir. Recordings do not do them justice. They can be as subtle as a feather floating to the ground, but in full tonsil wobble you need to hold on to your toupee or someone in row Z will get a false beard. They have an elemental quality that both soothes and rouses the soul. Uh-may-zing!
Also, a shout out for Zurab; such sweet playing and then standing still as a ninja meerkat when not needed. Slight change of pace from Toseland....
01.12.18 > Talking of vinyl...
We are officially In Winter once again, so this gorgeous package takes centre stage for the next three months :-)
30.11.18 > Ultimate Collection now out on vinyl!
Have you ordered Ultimate Collection on vinyl yet? A sound for sore ears...
Click here to go to Katie's store
26.11.18 > Albums section updated!
The Albums page has now been updated to include Ultimate Collection. Also, Diamonds Are Forever has been added to the Lyrics section.
24.11.18 > Winter walking...
I'm all set for my winter walks now!
22.11.18 > Lyric card: What It Says On The Tin
21.11.18 > Katie on Instagram
18.11.18 > Katie Bite: Blues In The Night
11.11.18 > Track Notes 34: Scary Films
10.11.18 > The Joy of Vinyl
It is wonderful to see the revival of vinyl. I remember well the fanfare surrounding the arrival of compact discs in the eighties, promising a quantum leap forward in quality as the digital age was born. We were sold a lie. Analogue recordings are faithful reproductions of the original masters whereas digital recordings are samples and lose tiny amounts of detail. For many people, a vinyl album gives a richer sound than a CD albeit with the characteristic clicks and pops which generate nostalgia in those of a certain age, and probably puzzlement among the younger generation. But there is more to it than just the sound. The look of vinyl, the feel, the ritual of the tone arm swinging in and the needle dropping with a little thud. Then there is the joy of the album cover itself. CDs never captured the magic that holding a vinyl album in your hands produced. And don't even get me started on digital streaming. And so to the vinyl edition of In Winter. The larger size of a vinyl album cover really does justice to the gorgeous artwork, while the pure white vinyl joyously adds to the wintry theme of the music. Ah yes, the music. With a decent turntable, amplifier and speakers, In Winter lives and breathes with the pure analogue glory of vinyl. It sounds like it was meant to sound - you can close your eyes and just lose yourself in Katie's breathtaking winter landscape. Yes, you have to get up and turn the record over half way through. It's all part of the experience. And with In Winter it is a truly magical experience. Long live vinyl!
08.11.18 > You can take the girl out of Georgia...
05.11.18 > Katie Bite: Moonshine
01.11.18 > Ultimate Collection on vinyl
Wonderful news! Katie announced the release of Ultimate Collection on vinyl on her Instagram account.