Partying with Paloma

PUBLISHED: 21:52 22 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:55 20 February 2013

Partying with Paloma

Partying with Paloma

Can a gorgeous, young, successful, talented redheaded gal from London really sing the blues, asks Candia McKormack

Partying with Paloma

Can a gorgeous, young, successful, talented redheaded gal from London really sing the blues, asks Candia McKormack

Ive been a fan of Billie Holidays music from a very early age. Theres something incredibly life-affirming about pure, unadulterated despair. And when sung with the cracked voice of a black woman living through racial segregation, addicted to hard drugs and with a string of lost loves, misery goes to a whole new level.

So, what makes an attractive 24-year-old East London redhead think she can deliver Billie-style angst?

Im talking, of course, about Paloma Faith. Shes causing something of a stir in pop and jazz circles with huge hits such as Stone Cold Sober and New York and, surprisingly, does misery rather well.

After a delicious meal at The Daffodil restaurant where we were treated to Paloma Pavlova (a suitably quirky and divine dessert created for the lady herself), I went along to the last night of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival where Paloma was singing with the backing of Guy Barkers super-cool 42-piece orchestra at the Town Hall. The title of the evenings entertainment was Down at the End of Lonely Street, and was a goosebump-inducing journey through the dizzy heights of new love affairs to the depths of heartache and unrequited love. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions where Palomas gorgeous voice soared above the fabulously talented orchestra.

The concert overshot considerably when we simply wouldnt let Palomaet alleave the stage (the jazz-loving genteel folk of Cheltenham got proper let-your-hair-down rowdy: wolf-whistling, whooping, stamping on the floor), but there was still time to head on down to the warmly inviting Royal Well Tavern for the aftershow party.

And what an aftershow party! The drink was flowing, there were some of the most delicious canaps I have ever tasted (devils on horseback and dinky little skewered burgers), the company was fabulous and Paloma graced us with her presence too.

A perfect evening. Thank you, Cheltenham, and the Festivals crew, for getting it all so right and for the best nights sleep Ive had in ages!

Listen to the Radio 2 recording here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00s7mmj

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