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Female Singers at Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival 2013

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Here come the jazz girls
Sisters are doing it for themselves at this year's Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival which runs from July 5 to July 14.

A wealth of female talent will be performing at the event, giving the guys a real run for their money.

The 'must see' artists include Lola Lamour and her 13-piece band The Lamours, 21-year-old Grace Lancaster and Irish singer-songwriter Grainne Duffy.

Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, The Lamours
Debut: The Lamours play Birmingham Botanical Gardens on July 12

The Lamours are making their Birmingham festival debut, appearing at the Botanical Gardens on July 12 (tickets 15 & 10). They effortlessly blend swing, tango, soul, blues, samba and rockabilly and ticketholders are advised to fasten their seat belts and be prepared for a stunning show.

Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, Grainne Duffy
Gritty: Grainne Duffy

If you like Bonnie Raitt, take a listen to Grainne Duffy who already has two albums under her belt and a long line of performances, including major festivals such as Glastonbury and Blues on the Bay. Her gritty soulful music has been a regular feature on radio Ulster and she cites Bonnie as an influence alongside Linda Ronstadt and Fleetwood Mac. Grainne and her band play O'Neill's on Broad Street on July 10 (8pm), The Brasshouse on July 11 (12.30pm) and The Junction, Harborne, also on July 11 (8pm).

Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, Melissa Lauren
Great reviews: Melissa Lauren

Canadian Melissa Lauren released her collection of original songs, The Other Side, to great reviews last year. She began singing with the Toronto All Star Big Band, working with the likes of Jeff Healey, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter Appleyard, Clark Terry and Buddy DeFranco. Catch her in Bimingham at Pushkar, Broad Street, on July 9 (8pm), Selfridges on July 10 (1pm), The Mailbox on July 11 (12.30pm), Blackheath Library on July 12 (7pm) and Victoria Square on July 13 (6pm).

Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, Grace Lancaster
Varied show: Grace Lancaster

For Grace Lancaster the festival marks her first performances outside her home of Yorkshire. In September she begins training at drama school in London so this is a chance to see her before she becomes famous! Her influences are soul, gospel and jazz and she also plays the alto saxophone so expect a varied show. She plays the Sun On The Hill, Bennetts Hill, on July 9 (8pm) and The Mailbox on July 10 (12.30pm).

Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival, Becky Brine
Here's looking at you: Becky Brine

This new wave of young female musicians will be joining the likes of Becky Brine, dubbed the 'Jazzeoke Queen' of the West Country, who is well known for her personal brand of theatrical solo street performance with which she launched her career, and Johanna Graham and her quartet, offering a varied repertoire and her own sophisticated singing style.

Becky performs on July 11 at the Sutton Coldfield's Red Rose Shopping Centre (12.30pm) and the Hyatt Regency Hotel (6.30pm), on July 12 at Solihull's Touchwood Shopping Centre (12.30pm) and Colmore Bar & Grill, Waterloo Street, (7.30pm) and on July 13 at Sam's Jazz On The Water, Gas St Basin, (2.30pm) and Hampton By Hilton, Broad Street (7pm).

Johanna Graham can be seen on July 13 at The Mall, Sutton Coldfield (12.30pm) and The Gosta Green, Holt Street, (5.30pm)

Another female singer worth seeing is Val Wiseman whose extensive career stretches from early stints with The Second City Jazzmen and Monty Sunshine's band through to a number of her own albums and a recent move into song-writing with her project based on the lives and works of the Bronte Sisters, Keeping the Flame Alive. Val plays The Garden House, Edgbaston, with Brian Dee and Len Skeat on July 12 (7.30pm) and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter on July 14 (12pm)
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Why? Top female singers performing at Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival
When: July 5 - July 14, 2013
Phone: 0121 454 7020
Where: Venues around Birmingham
Cost: Mostly free
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