A Treasure Chest of Music: Arcelia
I first heard Arcelia, a trio from the valleys of Kent, on Brian Player’s Acoustic Café Radio Show on Wey Valley Radio. I was immediately impressed by their harmonies and the arrangement of the song I heard, and looked them up on Spotify to hear more. At the time they had just released an album, Building on the Land, which I listened to a number of times. I found the melodies sublime and the arrangements breath-taking, while the three voices each had their own unique quality and became something special when harmonising together.
The name Arcelia comes from and old Spanish word meaning “treasure chest”. It also means “altar of the sky”. They describe themselves on their website as “soulful folk harmony”, the main members being Gavin Alexander, Teresa Gallagher and Simon Foster. They are also sometimes joined by Martin Elliott on bass and Perry White on piano. Gavin plays acoustic guitar and writes all the songs, while Simon is also a member of vocal group The Flying Pickets and Teresa is also a voice artist – her credits include a reading of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House which was a Times Audio Book of the Year and radio dramas.
The trio have been compared to Crosby, Stills & Nash, America, Paul Simon and Squeeze – incidentally, they regularly tour with Squeeze’s Chris Difford. They perform regularly throughout the south of England and sometimes further afield, e.g. Shrewsbury Festival and Norfolk. They own a studio which is in a 150-year-old barn, surrounded by forest in a Kent valley. Their latest release is a five track EP Pick Up the Pieces, released in 2019, and is another fine example of their combined vocal talents and Gavin’s songwriting talent. It also includes a wonderful acapella version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”.
I'm hoping to catch them live in the near future as I haven't yet had the opportunity to get to one of their shows.
For more information and news about Arcelia visit https://www.arcelia.co.uk