Rose Elinor Dougall Coming To The Cuban Embassy
Wednesday May 29th – 7:30pm to 11pm
On her third solo album, Rose Elinor Dougall looks into the abyss – the millennial-burnout, Brexit-apocalypse abyss – and she sings, quietly and beautifully, with piano, with guitar, and with a gentle fuck-it attitude.
Louche and with a soft sass, she tells of the impossible disappointments of growing up in 21st-century Britain, about the life decisions we don’t realise we’re making, about shaking off old habits and navigating failed dreams.
With that essential instinct, Dougall is aligning herself with the tradition of Sandy Denny, Bridget St John, Anne Briggs – English women who sang with proud fragility. “There’s something essential and earthy about them,” says Dougall. “They’re not playing that fey, ethereal, angelic folky-girl – there’s something more bloody about the way they sing. I’m not interested in hippy stuff. More and more, I want to listen to women singing – not girls.”
Dougall has spent almost two decades in music: with The Pipettes when she was barely out of school; touring and recording with Mark Ronson; singing and writing for choreographer Wayne McGregor at the Royal Opera House; guesting on Baxter Dury’s last album and working with him on his next one. “I’ve always appeared in slightly unexpected places,” is how she puts it. “I’ve never belonged to a particular scene or been particularly cool.”
She’s also made two previous solo albums – Without Why and Stellular – but this is the first time she’s co-produced one of them (with old friend Matt Twaites), and the first time she’s directed the whole team and the whole record. “This doesn’t have the same safety net as other things I’ve been involved in – it’s all on me. I’ve set myself new challenges, to see what happens.”
“I’ve been making music in London for 12 years and I’ve become part of an amazing community of musicians – I wanted to celebrate that.” The record includes her brother Tom Dougall, who’s also the lead singer in Toy, his bandmates Maxim Barron and Max Claps, Euan Hinshelwood and Joe Chilton of Younghusband, and other old friends from London and Brighton including Thomas White, Lauren O’Dair and Louis Eliot. “It does feel like a really nice group effort – I didn’t want to be over-prescriptive, so some of it is quite loose. I wanted to make it about musicianship. I know people who are really good and so I just wanted to allow space for them be really good.”