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Frankie Armstrong


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Frankie Armstrong (born January 13, 1941 in Workington, Cumbria, England) is a singer and voice teacher. She moved to Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire as a young child. She began singing in a group with her brother singing Elvis Presley and Little Richard numbers, and in 1957 joined the Stort Valley Skiffle Group which a few years later changed its name to the Ceilidh Singers as its repertoire moved towards folk music. The group founded the Hoddesdon Folk Club.

In 1963 she began working with Louis Killen and performing solo, then in 1964 she joined The Critics Group under Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger. In 1965 sang at the Edinburgh Festival “Poets In Public”, with John Betjeman, Stevie Smith and Ted Hughes. Her first recording, in 1965, was at the invitation of Bert Lloyd who as director of Topic Records was putting together a recording of erotic songs with Anne Briggs, released as The Bird in the Bush.

In the mid-1970s Armstrong pioneered workshops based on traditional styles of singing. But she also was a member of the Feminist Improvising Group (FIG), co-founded in 1977 by vocalist Maggie Nicols, bassoonist Lindsay Cooper, keybordist Cathy Williams, cellist and bassist Georgina Born and trumpeter Corinne Liensol and collaborated within the accomplished FIG after 1978 also with free jazz pianist (and partly percussion playing) Irène Schweizer, saxophonist (and film maker) Sally Potter, trombonist and violist Annemarie Roelofs, flutist and saxophonist Angèle Veltmeijer and saxophonist and guitarist Françoise Dupety.

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