WINCHESTER born singer, musician and composer Louise Jordan is touring with her latest project ‘No Petticoats Here’ this spring with an intimate and historic performance at God’s House Tower, part of Southampton’s ancient defensive walls on Friday ( April 21) .
‘No Petticoats Here’ tells the real life stories of varied and remarkable women of the Great War through song and was inspired by the story of Dorothy Lawrence, an aspiring author whose guardian lived in Salisbury Cathedral Close. Dorothy dressed as a soldier in order to visit the Western Front and pursue her journalistic ambitions. Louise quickly became fascinated by the stories of female ambulance drivers, scientists, footballers and spies.
No Petticoats Here is the culmination of twelve months of research that has taken Louise to the battlefields of the Somme, the Belgian frontline at Pervijse and to countless museums and historic research centres. Through contact with the relatives and biographers of some of these extraordinary women Louise has been able to add greater depth and detail to their stories bringing to life their courage and compassion.
Now a familiar face on the acoustic scene, Louise Jordan has placed her classical music background and her five years’ experience of touring arts centres, theatres, folk clubs and festivals in the UK and Europe alongside her early career as a secondary school history teacher to produce No Petticoats Here.
“The First World War too often remembers women as the mourners of the fallen, as frugal housewives ‘making do’ or angelic nurses caring patiently for the men who returned from the Front Line. Through No Petticoats Here I remember some of the many women whose stories do not fit conveniently into boxes and whose experiences are both astonishing and relatable one hundred years on.”
From the driving, rhythmic piano of ‘Queen of Spies’ which captures the story of the charming and bold Frenchwoman Louise de Bettignies, to the intensely personal ‘Mairi’ about the disintegration of a devoted friendship, this is an album as musically diverse as the women’s stories it tells. ‘Ripple and Flow’ captures Hertha Ayrton’s patient pursuit of change through her scientific achievements, the elegant interweaving clarinet and piano mirroring the ebb and flow of the water motions she studied. By contrast the resolute march of the army of women workers ‘Toil, Women, Toil’ is accompanied by a single snare drum.
Louise will perform at God’s House Tower on Friday at 8pm. Tickets in advance from www.wegottickets.com/event/393514 and on the door. Capacity is limited so advance booking is recommended. The venue is accessible via one flight of stairs.