O’Hooley and Tidow play Southdowns Folk Festival

O'Hooley & Tidow

O'Hooley & Tidow

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For folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow, being rooted in their environment is important.

But as their recent album The Hum explored, not everyone is so keen on their environment bothering them.

‘It was inspired by the factory at the end of our street,’ says Belinda O‘Hooley, who makes up the duo with her civil partner Heidi Tidow.

‘There’s this humming noise and it’s been there as long as we’ve lived there, which has been 10 years.

‘The neighbours said some people wanted to buy the house up the road, but when they heard that hum they were put off. That sound is the sound of people working – it’s the sound of people in jobs.

‘But they didn’t want to be bothered by that, they just wanted to live away from the city and not have to be bothered by real life. You’ve got to take everything into account and not be so narrow-minded and snobby.

‘It’s that mentality that gives us so many problems.’

The album, their third, gave the pair some of the best reviews of their career so far.

‘We’ve been gobsmcaked by the response we’ve had to it. We’ve had a great run with it.’

They are also not afraid to tackle difficult subjects further afield.

One of The Hum’s standout songs, Peculiar Brood, is a portrayal of suicide bombing from a mother’s perspective. The pair wrote it after watching the Palestinian film Paradise Now about two suicide bombers and then noting that the family of ducks on a nearby lake lost two of its ducklings overnight.

‘Sometimes you can’t necessarily pick what you write about, it comes to you,’ says Belinda. ‘It’s good though, it gets people talking.’

Last month the pair also self-released a limited run of a new album named Summat’s Brewin’ after another of The Hum’s tracks.

‘It was Heidi’s idea.

‘It’s about the nation’s fascination with alcohol – the good, the bad and the ugly – from community drinking songs, to a lament for people who are alcoholics.’

The duo are appearing tomorrow at the Southdowns Folk Festival.

Just don’t expect Belinda to bring out the impersonation of Annie Lennox she once did on ITV’s Stars in Their Eyes.

‘That’s my dark and shady past,’ she chuckles. ‘I did it really for my mum because she loved that show.’

The festival starts tonight and runs until Sunday at various venues around Bognor Regis. Individual concert tickets from £12, full weekend tickets are £68.

Other acts include Show of Hands, The Broonzies, Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin, Luke Jackson, Hatful Of Rain, Ninebarrow And Flossie Malavialle. Go to southdownsfolkfest.co.uk

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