Although Peter and Barbara have been performing together for only a short time, there is a synergy that suggests otherwise. This popular duo from the north west of England have become noted for their well crafted arrangements of traditional songs, including songs that recapture the atmosphere of the Lancashire music hall. It has been said that they embody an uncluttered, more organic attitude to their music — the very spirit of real folk.
Barbara has exactly the right sort of voice for folksong with many years of solid experience and love of singing on her personal CV. Originally from Birkenhead, she was a young observer of the many singers that performed at the Spinners Folk Club in Liverpool during that legendary period of the ‘revival’ were she was lucky enough to see Tom Anderson and Aly Bain, Ewan McColl and Pete Seeger and The Copper Family to mention a few. Inspired and excited, she later became involved in the Liverpool Trad. Club, where, as a teenager, she began singing herself, both solo and in various duos and groups.
In 1981 she joined ‘Bright Phoebus’, an exciting and innovative acepalla/gospel group, who, under the guidance of Peter Bellamy produced a wonderful sound. Successful and exhilarating, it was unfortunate that the group disbanded after only four years due to the ill-health of one of its members. In 1985 she worked with Pete Coe on ‘It’s a Mean Old Scene’, providing accompanying vocals on three of the eight songs on that well received LP. (Two of these songs — Wait ‘til the Clouds Roll By and Rolling Down the Ryburn were included on Pete’s retrospective CD ‘Previous’ in 2007).
Following a move from the Wirral to live and work in East Lancashire, it became increasingly difficult to sustain the same level of commitment to singing and the lack of regular contact with both the singers and the clubs she had come to know so well was sorely missed. However...you may be able to take the person out of the song, but you cannot take the song out of the person, and in the year 2000 she started to attend a local folk club where in 2004, she met Peter.
Peter’s interest in folk music developed through attending the same public house as the Garstang Morris Dancers, where an evening of English Country music was a weekly event. Eventually, and perhaps inevitably, he purchased a melodeon, joined the team and has been playing melodeon ever since! Garstang was a creative force with strong visual impact and strict tempo — a useful background.
With a broad repertoire, time spent with TheSnapes is varied, interesting and enjoyable. Barbara sings in a lovely direct way with a flexibility to adapt to whatever is required of a song, whilst Peter provides melodeon accompaniment that intuitively enhances the character and subtle nuances of both song and singer. The use of guitar and concertina on selected songs brings an added dimension to their music and is in keeping with a careful and crafted approach for which they are noted for.