Bertie Anderson Haggart is a viola player, singer and composer based in North Norfolk. Family life balances with an exciting musical career: "At home I have 2 children, Poppy and Alfred, my husband Gavin, Woody the Wonder Dog and The Green Dream Machine (VW camper van). Pre Armageddon I was fiercely proud that my day job was being a musician and had been entirely for over 20 years.
For the past 12 years I’ve been both performer and MD in the theatrical comedy string quartet Bowjangles. The lead singer and songwriter in the swing folk band The BeauBowBelles and spent a fair few hours busking in London’s Covent Garden."
As for so many of us this year brought some unexpected challenges for Bertie, but that didn't stop her!
"2020 was the Beaubowbelles’ 10 year anniversary so we had lots of fun gigs planned and were in the process of writing and recording our 3rd album. The gigs were cancelled and one of our members got stuck in Australia so everything has been put on hold though we did manage to release a song and lockdown music video!
With Bowjangles we hit the ground running. Lockdown #1 actually became a very creative time for us as we experimented with ways to create whilst apart. We’ve always been so focused on live performing that creating videos remotely was exciting (and very stressful!) we are also about to start writing a brand new show which I am beyond excited about as I will be writing the original score for it."
The change of pace forced by the pandemic has meant many of us have actually found this time liberating in some ways, the opportunity to stop the hamster wheel and take stock for a minute. "I have always put so much creative and emotional energy into performing that, especially with young kids it left little time for writing. Without any gigs, that energy needed to go somewhere and I’ve found myself writing more than ever before which has been wonderful (I’m a glass half full kinda girl!). I’ve always had a complex relationship with performing and adding to that the stressful logistics of touring and working with young kids, having some enforced time off has been... not all terrible!"
However, like many other musicians this period of time has really reaffirmed to me how being a musician is not a job, it’s who I am. A journey I started at 6 years old. It is as much a part of me as my name, or my personality! Literally my hands are shaped to play viola as that is what they have done almost every day for 36 years and my mind is hard wired to write music!"
"...being a musician is not a job, it’s who I am. A journey I started at 6 years old. It is as much a part of me as my name..."
Musician Mums Quick Quiz!
Tell us how you stayed sane in lockdown?
Composing. Building a new website. Learning to video edit. I’m afraid I’m one of those annoying people. If I’m not doing something, if I don’t have a project I get sad so I have to keep doing! Also my kids. Whilst at times they have driven me bonkers this year has allowed me to spend far more time with them than I would have done and that has really been wonderful.
What will you miss most about performing music this Christmas?
Hot steamed up village halls full of good cheer and the smell of mulled wine!
And what's your favourite Christmas song?
Mariah, it’s always Mariah.
What are you hoping for this year for Christmas?
A piano and some colourful loungewear please!
Tell us about your favourite Christmas memory ?
Going on tour with Bowjangles doing our Xmas show when Poppy was 7 months old with my mum as ride along nanny, breastfeeding in intervals, Poppy watching the shows with big eyes, the roof flying off my van, you know, fun memories!
What is your absolute favourite thing about Christmas ?
It has to be the music! I get all the feels from any style of Xmas music. I love it. And the lights! And definitely the food as long as I’m not cooking! Re living the Christmas magic with little kids has breathed new life into it for me.
Finally, have you got a hint towards what you're playing on the calendar?
I had a bit of a misfire- the song I originally wanted to do unfortunately I couldn’t get permission to do so I had to think quick. In the end I was inspired to do something original based on the story of The Little Match Girl, a story set on New Years Eve. To accompany it I have created a short animated film. View the trailer for Bertie's performance here!
Can't wait to see it, love your positive spin on everything, thank you so much Bertie!
Find out more about Bertie on her website https://www.bertiebow.com/