Listening to the First Aid Kit last week, and The Staves just before Christmas has made the Ironbath think about the great sibling harmonies that he has heard – And there is one pair that stand out above all – The Bowmans.
There is a technical reason why sibling harmonies are better than others. It’s physics – or should that be biology? Sister’s have similar lungs and thorax and vocal chords so they make a similar sound when they sing. The Bowmans – Sarah & Clare – are identical twins which means that their harmonies come from identical lungs, thorax and vocal chords. The audible effect is amazing.
If that were all, The Bowmans would be a wonderful novelty act. But The Bowmans songs are each beautifully crafted epic masterpieces.
In 2007 The Bowmans entered a competition hosted by Paste magazine to identify the best in new songwriting. The prize was to perform on the first Cayamo in February 2008. The Bowmans were announced as the winners just before the boat was due to sail. The Ironbath saw that they had been added to the line-up and a brief MySpace search determined that The Bowmans were something special.
Their initial performance was in the Red & Black lounge and it was startlingly good. They had a brief sound check before the performance and this resulted in a standing ovation. ‘On The Road’ is a light, up tempo number reminiscent of the 1960’s New York folk scene. ‘The Kitchen Song’ charts the sister’s move to New York and how despite living in the city they seemed to be spending all their time in their kitchen. From this simple premise they create a song of operatic proportions. ‘Make It last’ is about sweet memories of the family’s summer vacations to Canada, and is the Ironbath’s favourite song and is a great memory of that first Cayamo trip.
In a more egalitarian world The Bowmans would have gone on from Cayamo, won a Grammy and become internationally recognised for their music. But the Ironbath is afraid that this isn’t a world where the right thing happens. And as frustrating as it is, fortunately The Bowmans are still making music.
5 years after the first Cayamo there is no band that has left such an impression and there is nothing that the Ironbath would like more than to see The Bowmans on the next Cayamo. If for no other reason than to give the people who weren’t on the first trip a chance to hear this amazing talent.