Forging a sense of belonging in London
Siobhan Fahey played her first overseas concert in 1983, when she was part of the trio Bananarama. “It was a weird, impromptu appearance by Bananarama in New York supporting Steel Pulse,” says the Irish-born musician. “(It was) the wrong audience for us — irreverent punky club kids that we were. It utterly confused the crowd — and us. (It was) one of many surreal situations I’ve found myself in my life.”
Currently on tour with her duo Shakespears Sister, Fahey is celebrating the October release of their new EP, “Ride Again.” When not on tour, Fahey splits her time between
Los Angeles and London.
An edited version of our conversation follows.
Q: You spent a good part of your childhood living in various parts of Europe. Did that make you long for staying in one spot?
A: It has left me with a strong yearning to put down roots, but without an attachment to anywhere in particular. So, I have moved constantly searching for somewhere that feels like home. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to accept that I may never find that mythical place.
Q: When you became a mom, were you comfortable taking your children with you wherever you traveled?
A: When the kids were babies, they would travel back and forth with us, but once they reached school age, I wanted them to have a sense of normal life so they could fit in, forge their own friends and have a sense of belonging somewhere. We settled in London, as it has always been my de facto hometown. It worked well for my eldest, who still has a strong bond with a group of close friends that he has had since early childhood.
Q: How have your travels impacted your music?
A: The new Shakespears Sister EP was written out in Joshua Tree. I wanted to create a sound that spoke of the Wild West, psychedelic Americana, the raw emotion, the poetry and the romance of all that, which is so exotic to me hailing, as I do, from the old world.
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: I always loved Jamaica. Its stunning physical beauty, its proud and stylish people, its combination of spirituality and edgy music, its tradition and rebellion. Jamaica is the size of Wales, so get a car and travel around.
Q: What was the first trip you took as a child?
A: The first trip I remember (was) the first time I was on an airplane
Qwhen the family flew to Germany. I was 4. My dad was a soldier and we were posted to live there. We were there for five years in total, so I have a great fondness for the language. It sounds cozy to me, though I never learned it fluently.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: When in Los Angeles, I go to Joshua tree whenever I can. When in London, I go down to my sister’s near Rye in East Sussex. Both cities are becoming too intense. I suspect it’s a global trend — overcrowded and stressful. Time to move out.
Q: If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A: I have had a couple of Christmases on the ski slopes, both in Vermont with my kids and my friends, and also in California with friends and my sons. Snow is so cozy, and skiing makes you hungry. Christmas songs and games as you hunker down around the fire in the evening — it’s my fave day of the year.
Shakespears Sister is Marcella Detroit, left, and Siobhan Fahey. Their new EP is “Ride Again.”