Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are a trio of siblings – Kitty, 18, Daisy, 22 and Lewis, 20 – from north London, who play thigh-slapping traditional rhythm and blues and hillbilly swing. With their quiffs and 1950s vintage look, which they have had ever since they were at primary school, it is as if they are transported from another era. Most endearing is that they recruit their mum and dad as backing musicians for their live shows, which includes Glastonbury this summer.
Their half-Norwegian mum Ingrid Weiss – who plays double-bass – used to play drums in Kurt Cobain’s favourite post-punk band, The Raincoats. Anglo-Indian dad Graeme Durham – who plays guitar in the band – owns and runs London’s The Exchange mastering studios, which has done albums for Laura Marling, Foals, and The Chemical Brothers. He has produced and recorded Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’s album at the vintage recording studio they have built at home. With 1940s and 1950s recording equipment, using ribbon microphones and tape, their homemade studio was inspired by Memphis’s Sun Studios. This family is fixated with all things vintage, and releases music on vinyl, as well as digital downloads and on CD. Earlier this year Lewis opened his analogue recording studio in Soho’s Riflemaker gallery, where the public could cut one song direct-to-10in disc. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis – Swing out sister, brother, sister (Independent UK, May-20:2011)
It struck me almost no mention of skiffle music in all the write ups about Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. (“A large number of British musicians began their careers playing skiffle in this period and some became leading figures in their respective fields. These included leading Northern Irish musician Van Morrison, British blues pioneer Alexis Korner as well as Ronnie Wood, Alex Harvey and Mick Jagger; folk musicians Martin Carthy, John Renbourn and Ashley Hutchings; rock musicians Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Robin Trower and David Gilmour; and popular beat music successes Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of The Hollies. Most notably The Beatles evolved from John Lennon’s skiffle group The Quarrymen.”) Skiffle music: “Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, roots and country influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments.”
My motive for highlighting this family of musicians is the following, beguiling excerpt from a BBC documentary. It is totally worth spending 26 minutes with.