In the early days of the media circus surrounding the musical genre known as 'Britpop', Echobelly were one of the bands, along with Blur, Oasis, Gene and Suede that loosely defined the genre in the public's eye.

The Echobelly sound is defined and lead by Sonya Aurora Madan's (never ever to be confused with Sonia) vocals. Sweet and haunting, or playful and coquettish, or sometimes all at once. Sonya's lyrics are often strongly political, gender and race being her pet issues, and frequently deal with how these issues interact with personal relationships.

The rest of the sound, in the early days, was completed by the standard Britpop lineup of guitars (Glenn Johansson and Debbie Smith, ex of Curve, currently with Bows), bass (Alex Keyser) and drums (Andy Henderson). Before recording Lustra, Debbie left the band, in a move probably related to the dissintegration of her long-term relationship with Glenn). After Debbie left, the recorded sound started to rely more on synthesisers, and live dates all but disappeared. After Lustra, Alex also left. People Are Expensive was filled out with more synthesiser and some session guys, and afterwards a new bass player (Ruth Owen).

Echobelly were often held up as the poster kids for "A Multicultural Britain", not only for their political lyrics but also for the band's own 'ethnic diversity': Sonya is half asian, Debbie is black and Glenn is, well... Swedish.

Sonya's relationship with the music press, their peers and the band's fans has always been a bit of an oddity. The press's affection for homing in on insignificant details often portrays Sonya as a radical figure, latching onto what may be casual whims and blowing them into lage issues. The hooplah created, for instance, when she performed on stage (at Glastonbury, I think) wearing a schoolgirl's uniform and pigtails. Sonya also attracts a rather large male fanbase; mostly due to the frank and honest lyrics, heavenly voice and the fact that, to be honest, she is an absolute cutie.

Possibly for related reasons, the band are also well-admired amongst their peers, notables being Morrissey (who claimed I Can't Imagine The World Without Me as one of the best songs ever written.) Indeed, there is a strong Smiths influence in many Echobelly songs. Also, Suede are friends and admirers, having covered Give Her a Gun.

Echobelly are currently involved in all sorts of nasty legal/financial upheaval. Their second manager swindled all their money, and also some which their first manager claims Echobelly still owe him, so is currently attempting to sue them for the money; which they don't have. Lovely.

Albums

Extra Info

There's lots of info out there. Recommended are:
http://www.echobelly.com
(includes diaries posted occasionally by Sonya). For most other stuff, hit google with the query Echobelly and you'll be richly rewarded.

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