Clea & McLeod play 'Slap me, Shake me,' The Roundhouse, London, 1991
Clea McIlraith (lead vocals) and Cinders McLeod (double bass and harmony) met at Dartington College of Arts, Devon, then moved to London where for 5 years in the late 80s and early 90s, they played the London cabaret circuit, toured Britain & Europe, and cut a record, Beyond our Means, on Billy Bragg's Utility Label.
The performance at the Roundhouse was filmed on Cinders McLeod's super 8 camera, circa 1991. The soundtrack is Slap me, Shake me, written by Cinders, and recorded on their record. It is about love, poverty, (women's) poverty and domestic brutality - the gritty dancethon of marriage. It was inspired by Horace Mccoy’s danceathon-depression story ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’
'The weight of your body, the weight, weight, weight of our lives'
Armed with double bass and ‘expertly conterpointed voices that get under every skin in the room’ (Melody Maker), they started out playing in living rooms (which they still do because they see it as the equivalent of working man’s clubs for many women). Since then they have played pubs, clubs, theatres, nightclubs, streets, festivals, winebars, parks, shoppping centres, trains & backs of lorries, weddings, community centres, girls’ toilets, folk clubs, jazz clubs, cafés & beaches, from Glasgow to Penzance, from Cardiff to Crete. Although this is their first time on vinyl, they’ve been heard on Radio One's Woman's Hours, Irish women’s private radio, Cornish fishing boats, the hippy convoy, Breakfast TV and on Scottish and Canadian radio stations.
Their songs are about heroines and heroin, the other side of the coin, calling on people, riots and women shoplifting, the price we pay for war, how we censor our desires, who’s in and who’s out, domestic brutality, making claims, the real thieves and murderers, what we don’t want to be when we grow up, music as a source of freedom… ‘And they do it all with style, charm and wit’ (Glasgow Herald).
'…Clea& Mcleod came to a somewhat rowdier reception than they might have wished for. But armed only with string basses and voices…the two women held the attention of all but the most desensitised for a full 45 minutes with songs that confirmed the City Limits assessment - challenging and hardhitting. '
-John Peel, The Observer
'Clea and McLeod - currently one of the most original and challenging acts on the acoustic scene, they firmly believe in being as uncompromising as possible. Their music comes across as an emotional brew of jazz and gaelic folk, but it's the positive message and delivery that really sets them apart from the coffee bar poets and bar room protesters of the troubadour renaissance'
-Len Brown, NME
‘Clea and McLeod are the perfect answer to anyone who still clings to the idea the acoustic music is a soft option. They’re heavier than metallica, and more cutting that a blowtorch. Save them for you most soul searching moods’
-Dave Jennings, Melody Maker
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