Huddersfield Daily Examiner

We heard a rumour... Bananarama are back


BANANARAMA put the girl band into pop in the 1980s and their new album finds their talent for a catchy hit undiminish­ed. Songs such as Venus, Cruel Summer, Love In The First Degree, Robert De Niro’s Waiting, He Was Really Saying Something and, of course, I Heard A Rumour, made them regular fixtures on Top Of The Pops and teenagers everywhere rushed to copy their fashion style.

The group has sold more than 30 million records worldwide and earned an entry in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the most successful female band with the most charting singles.

The original trio of Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey reunited in 2017 for a one-off Reunion Tour and Sara and Keren are now back with a string of intimate dates to launch new studio album In Stereo.

It features infectious single Stuff Like That and the live dates also include a Q&A session.

Sara says : “We’ve had a great response to the single. We’ve not had an album for a long time and the reviews have been so positive and now we are going back on tour ... with a Q&A session.

“We recently came back from Australia. It was very tiring, but the reaction was just amazing and it was great to be back there. We’ve been going there for something like 30 years and it is still fantastic. We are really lucky that we have such a good fan base.

“The Q&A in Australia lasted 20 minutes just because we were having a brilliant time with the crowd and I’m really excited to be doing it here in the UK . We are quite spontaneou­s people and I don’t want to know the questions beforehand. We really have no idea

what they are going to ask us.”

She laughs : “The fans tend to know more things about us anyway. They remember dates and even tracks that we don’t even remember recording.”

Keren says : “People are flying from Australia and the States to come to the shows. Everyone just has great fun. We’ve been going for something like 35 years and have seen these people, have grown up with them, and it’s just amazing to see so many familiar faces.”

So have the two veteran travellers discovered the secret of beating jet lag during their mega-touring schedules?

“We went to America before Australia and will be going to Japan later in the year,” says Sara, “and the jet lag, well, you just never get used to it, but when you step on stage the adrenalin kicks in and you’re off.”

Keren agrees : “I don’t think you can do anything. It’s tough. That kind of tiredness never goes away.”

Sara wails : “We are normally the only two people on the plane who do not sleep. We just can’t sleep.”

The birth of the UK’s first internatio­nally successful girl band was not pre-planned.

“We didn’t think about it too much in the beginning it was just exciting,” admits Sara.

“Siobhan and I were in college and Keren was working for the BBC and Bananarama was just an extension of our clubbing days.

“Keren and I lived in a flat above the Sex Pistols’ old rehearsal space. We lived with Paul Cook from the band and we did backing vocals and kind of got a taste for it. We just thought ‘Why don’t we all be in a band?’”

So what are their strongest memories looking back?

“Hearing our music on the John Peel Show on the radio,” says Sara. “When you hear your music on the radio for the first time it is really thrilling. Cruel Summer getting to the top 10 in America, that was so exciting, going to NY for the first time, seeing palm trees in L A . That was all amazing. And meeting Robert De Niro.

“We also met pop artist Andy Warhol. When I look back, there are just so many great moments.” She recalls with a laugh ; “I had a picture taken with Andy Warhol as well. I had it up at home and one builder saw it and said ‘Is that Bernie Ecclestone?’”

Keren says : “It’s really difficult to pick just one memory, but I remember touring the States in 1989 on a proper tour bus. I remember us all travelling and there was nothing for miles and miles. That was quite an adventure.

“We were going to all sorts of places that felt like 1950s America. We would get off the bus and people would look at us and go ‘Oh, my word.’”

She chuckles : “We felt a bit like a freak show. The whole tour was an adventure and it was what we wanted to do for a long time.”

So have they kept anything from those 1980s Bananarama days?

“I have got EVERY THING,” admits Sara. “It’s all in suitcases. I’ve got the I Heard A Rumour clothes and I’ve still got the dungarees from Cruel Summer... and all the old Vivienne Westwood clothes like the Buffalo Girls stuff with the hat. I’ve got most of the photo shoots as well.” She laughs : “I’ve got a lot of stuff.”

Keren says : “I have nothing. Everything has gone to very good homes though and I can lay my hands on them if I need them. The only thing I have, because I wore it recently, is my cowgirl outfit from I Heard A Rumour.”

Sara is now 57 and Keren has just turned 58, but both say music has kept them young.

“It’s quite a youthful business,” says Sara. “The life is extraordin­ary, and you have young people coming up with ideas and it rubs off on you. That zest for life.”

Keren says : “I think it’s 10 years since I last walked into a gym. I’d rather be outside walking the dog. I just feel it’s good for you mentally and physically to be outdoors.”

And how have they remained good friends for so long?

“I think our friendship has survived because we are similar where it really matters,” says Keren. “Our difference­s and weaknesses are the other one’s strength.” She shrugs : “We just get on. And I think we do have the same sense of humour. You have to have a laugh because it’s not all glamorous.”

They both start giggling and say they are ready for whatever comes next. “Even the unexpected­ness of a Q&A session,” laughs Keren.


THE Irish indie favourites took their time to process the death of singer Dolores O’Riordan and have confirmed this will be the final Cranberrie­s album.

And while Hogan, his bassist brother Mike and drummer Fergal Lawler pack the required punch, O’Riordan’s vocals – supplement­ed by their backing singer, Johanna Cranitch – are the focal point.

Lost and Wake Me When It’s

Over are two of the standout tracks on an album illuminate­d by moments of O’Riordan and the band at their finest.

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