Franka de Mille is a London-based singer/composer, whose songs are an original mix of folk (particularly Americana), alternative rock, blues and chamber music. Her recent show at The Bedford, to promote her new album Bridge the Roads, featured her full seven-piece band, whose parts are all composed by Franka. Combined with her distinctive voice, the uncommon combination of styles is a very powerful, exciting mixture to listen to; its quirky sound is reminiscent of Kate Bush. Particularly in a venue with resonant acoustics, such as The Bedford’s live music room, which seems to be a converted small theatre, it’s hard not to be drawn into the narratives of the songs, all of which have a highly personal touch; in fact, unusually, Franka opens the personal stories behind the writing of the songs up to the public in her ‘Stories Behind the Songs’ section of her website. This personal element, as well as the loveliness of hearing seven instruments harmonising, definitely makes for an enthralling show – during the songs I don’t think anyone spoke. The highlight of the show for me was ‘Gare de Nord’, a melodic pop-folk song which ends by developing into an instrumental piece, mixing folk and chamber music for the cello, violin and piano. Overall, it’s hard not to be charmed by the blend of creativity, narrative and fun that Franka delivers; her music suits fans of pop, folk and classical music alike. I’d definitely recommend hearing it live, as the charisma of the songs, as well as the power of hearing so many instruments harmonised, really can’t be captured online.
Bridge the Roads is out now and is available on Franka’s website, www.frankademille.com