Emma Kirkby: Better than Coffee
Ok, here's a confession: When I was about sixteen, it was a fantasy of mine that I'd wake up on your average English summer's morning (birds chirping outside, sun streaming through the windows, the warm smell of cut grass filling the air), and downstairs (making the coffee) would be Emma Kirkby
, and she'd be singing. A pretty innocent fantasy, perhaps, but a pleasant one nonetheless, and it seems as though other people thought she was a delight to listen to because she's just been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
(good grief!) for services to music.
Apart from the fact that she has a voice of crystal purity and great warmth
, Dame Emma also seems like a nice person. She came to singing relatively late and somewhat accidentally, but she's made the early music world
her own, and has dipped her toes into the mirky waters of modern music as well. Now, there's not a lot of sturm und drang
in her voice; when she sings there's little sign of a troubled soul
or someone weighed down by life. I went to a live concert of hers once, and she just walked onto the stage, and started singing. No fuss, no muss. She ain't dramatic or diva-like; but, sometimes, all you want is sunshine and brightness
, and the tintinnabulation
of cleanly sung lines. And that's Emma Kirkby.