The Bookshop Band write songs inspired by books. The band began as a collaboration with Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, in Bath (Independent Bookshop of the Year 2008 / 2011) as part of a plan to help Mr B’s rejuvenate its traditional ‘author evenings’.. The band would read the forthcoming author’s book in advance and write two songs based upon it, to be performed at the start of the evening. Their performances are inextricably linked to the books themselves, as the members of the band take it in turns to describe where the inspiration for each song came from.
After the first season the band recorded and released their first CD, Travels From Your Armchair. Despite only being available in the bookshop itself, word soon spread and they were picked up by radio DJ Tom Robinson who played them on his national Introducing show on BBC 6Music. More recently the band had a 10 minute feature on Kirsty Lang’s culture show, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, and the band appeared on BBC 1 as part of a news feature on Britain’s independent bookshops. Over the course of the year, they have completed 18 author events, and written 36 songs inspired by 21 diverse books, from Andrew Miller’s “Pure” (2011 Costa Novel of the Year) to China Mieville’s acclaimed science-fiction novel “Embassytown” and from Edmund De Waal’s multi-award winning “The Hare with the Amber Eyes” to “Death and the Penguin” by the master of post-Commmunist Ukrainian satire, Andrey Kurkov.
The band is made up of three British musician / songwriters, Ben Please, Poppy Pitt and Beth Porter. They struck up a friendship whilst playing with their respective bands at UK music festivals in 2010, and decided to collaborate after Mr B’s proposed the idea in late 2010. Beth has played with Peter Gabriel and currently tours with Eliza Carthy. She has also recorded for Newton Faulkner, The Unthanks, and Maximo Park. Ben is part of indie-folk band Urusen, who have recently recorded an album at Peter Gabriel’s Realworld Studio with platinum-selling producer Steve Osborne (KT Tunstall, The Happy Mondays, U2, Doves). Poppy Pitt is an artist and sculptor, and tours with her own band, Poppy and Friends. The Bookshop Band also produce music for films, most recently with Ben writing, and Beth involved in recording, the orchestral score for a short animation called The Eagleman Stag, which won the 2011 BAFTA for Best Short Animation.