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Behind the Musical Advent Calendar: Joanne Davies, Violinist

Playing with Muse at the Brits

Joanne Davies from Epping, Essex is a freelance violinist who has had a really varied career. "I do all sorts of performing, from touring with Kanye West, to fiddling with Irish Dance Shows, to recording film music, and playing for various orchestras and chamber ensembles. I love making music and am at my happiest either in a recording studio or playing English or French music with small string groups.

Four years ago I had my little girl, Eva, who has brought much joy. She is showing signs of being musical but it is too early to know which instrument she might like. Sometimes I think she might be a drummer or perhaps a singer for a death metal band :) we shall see. She has just started school so I finally have a bit more time to make music; however doing everything online is a new phenomenon for me! I miss playing for a live audience."

This year has been difficult for Joanne, as it has for so many. "Mostly I am just missing the joy of performing. It is part of what makes me me, and having everything cancelled has really had an impact on my happiness, and of course my bank balance!

However I have embraced online teaching and have set up a Youtube channel where I have been recording tutorials for my students (and anyone else who is interested)! Please drop me a comment and say hello! Although I am still finding ways to create, nothing beats live performance."

Joanne's advent calendar offering is of two traditional carols. "The first is definitely one of my favourites. For me it epitomises the Christmas spirit. I have played it straight as I think it needs to be played simply and beautifully. You can sing along at home. The second tune is also great for singing along to but I have jazzed it up just a tad as you will see.

I recorded in my local church, St John’s of Epping. During lockdown I haven’t had many options of places to play so was very happy when the church allowed me to pop in for an hour. I found a very appropriate backdrop for my piece, and the inspirational Olivia kindly provided candles and helped me set up."

We can't wait to hear it, it sounds wonderful already!

Musician Mums Quick Christmas Quiz:

Spirit of the Dance in Singapore

What will you miss most about performing music this Christmas?

Normally my diary would be pretty busy for December with an assortment of orchestral concerts plus the occasional television show. This year I have only two dates in my diary for December - my Albert Hall concert and a wedding which has rescheduled from Spring this year. I am on standby for both performances so we shall see what happens. It leaves a sizeable hole in my heart having had so many performances cancelled this year.

Your favourite hymn/Christmas song?

You will have to wait and see!... Oh and everybody's most loved or hated song 'All I Want For Christmas is You!'

And what are you hoping for this year for Christmas?

I would really like a long bubble bath in total silence, (ie no child jumping on my head or shouting Muuuuuuum), a face mask and a glass of champers. Could this be arranged please? ;)

What's your favourite Christmas memory ?

Christmas for me is about family so all my favourite memories are of happy, family times. Also, Christmas carols have always made Christmas feel special for me. I don't think you can beat a carol concert for spine-tingling Christmassy feelings. Every year I do a beautiful Christmas concert for children at the Royal Albert Hall. It honestly is the most magical concert to be a part of, and the Albert Hall always makes me smile. I really hope this year's concert is allowed albeit with fewer of us on stage and in the audience.

Tell us your favourite thing about Christmas ?

My favourite thing about Christmas is the build-up to it. The week before, when there is excitement in the air and a feeling of anticipation. Now that I have Eva, Christmas is all about her so I try to create magical moments for her to remember. We put the tree up early this year and decorating the tree with her with cheesy Christmas music playing was a happy moment.

Thanks so much for all your work Joanne!


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