ATHENE ROBERTS

violin, vocals, accordion

 

Athene Roberts is a performer and composer with her own colourful and energetic style of playing. Her musical compositions draw influences from many styles of music, and have been used on BBC documentaries, independent films and theatre shows. She has frequently been invited onstage by the Levellers to perform the 'fiddle-off' with Jon Sevink, as a solo performer with Mark Chadwick, and has recently been the leader of the Urban Gypsy Orchestra  for the People's String Foundation. Athene has  played violin on many studio albums, most notably recently recording on a new single for Hawkwind. She can also be seen in the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster movie "Tulip Fever". Athene has published an article entitled "My Life as a Rock n Roll Mummy" in Mother Magazine, and a mother's guide to festivals in Juno.

 

"Many of my tunes have emerged whilst walking the rugged coast paths and beaches of Cornwall, inspired by the freedom and wild energy of the sea and wind. My style of playing reflects the unconventional musical path that I have followed so far. I was beguiled by the violin at the age of 4, and started playing using a tiny ‘sixteenth’ violin that was an ornament on a friend’s wall. Having studied classical violin and piano, played in orchestras, and played bass guitar in a glam rock band at 15, I was drawn to the more ‘alternative’ side of life. I discovered a completely new approach to music around the colourful campfires of the road protest camps at Fairmile, where I was inspired by the Eastern European and the yiddish Klezmer tunes I learnt there.

 

On joining the quirky and innovative cult underground festival band Doo The Moog for a short while, the strange and colourful world of touring, festivals and improvisation drew me in and I was hooked. I then became part of the original line-up of the festival “diddly-dub” collective “Headmix”, with whom I toured around Holland, Germany and Czech Republic. It was in Holland that I met Tim Ashton, and soon joined his psychedelic punk band Moondragon and their folky alter-ego Lordryk.

 

When the band disbanded, Tim and I decided to follow a nomadic lifestyle, travelling around Europe in an old purple Dodge van as street entertainers, working with circuses, theatre companies and meeting musicians from all around the world, and sharing tunes and stories with them. We soon began to write our own songs using tales and tunes we had picked up on our adventures, and on return to Cornwall, formed 3 Daft Monkeys.

 

Managing and writing for 3DM gave Tim and I the freedom to fully express ourselves musically, whilst maintaining the traveling lifestyle we had grown to love, and we soon became one of the hardest-working touring acts in the country. We’ve written 9 albums together over the years, and undertaken many musical projects and workshops, worked with schools, theatre companies, dancers and choirs. We now tour with our 3yr old son Arlo, who has added a wonderful chaos to the fun of life on the road.

 

From an early age, I have moved and danced with my fiddle, and I love working with local costume designers to create unusual dresses with a theatrical edge, which I hope add another element to our live shows. I just can’t seem to stand still. 

 

When we’re not touring with 3DM, I run music classes in Falmouth, where I love teaching all styles of music."

 

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