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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Musician Leonie solves radio mystery voice teaser

* Leonie Kirby on the guitar.
A Llangollen musician was bang in tune with the mystery voice which listeners were asked to name in a national radio competition.

After correctly identifying the dulcet tones of Oscar-nominated British actress Helena Bonham Carter, Leonie Kirby ended up solving the riddle which has been baffling listeners to the Wynne Evans morning show on BBC Radio Wales for months.

Leonie was born and raised in Liverpool, where she studied singing at college and played percussion in the Merseyside Youth Orchestra in the 1970s, including playing The Rite of Spring under Sir Simon Rattle.

She taught as a primary school music specialist, and moved to Llangollen 30 years ago, where she stayed at home with her children, Dafydd, Bethan and Ifan.

Over the years Leonie has sung in many genres, as well as writing musicals and conducting choirs, including setting up the ladies’ singing group The Melodics in Llangollen.

Of her mystery voice triumph earlier this week she said: “I started listening to Radio Wales at the beginning of lockdown, when I was staying in Cardiff with my youngest and his wife, and I’ve been listening ever since.

“It was the same mystery voice from before lockdown, a long time!

“I thought it sounded like Helena Bonham Carter, but I’d got so used to hearing ‘wrong’ that I was fully expecting to be wrong too. So it was fab to guess right.

“Wynne was very mysterious after I gave my answer, and then played a snippet of music, but I couldn’t make it out over the phone, so I was none the wiser.

“It was only after that I heard it, it was the 1812 overture. Back to my cymbal clashing days!

“But Wynne was so lovely to chat with, so guessing correctly was just the icing on the cake.

“Hopefully, he’ll be back in Llangollen at the eisteddfod, when everything is up and running again.”

Leonie only came to writing and performing her own material, with the guitar, in 2013.

She plays at the folk club in The Ponsonby Arms and the open mic nights in The Sun, as well as being a regular on the eisteddfod outside stages.

She said: “This year has been so hard for anyone wanting to make and listen to live music. We’re lucky to have performance spaces online, but it’s not the same.

“I set up a group on Facebook at the beginning of lockdown, The Ponsonby Players, and we ‘meet’ twice a week and take turns to play songs. Anyone can request to join, to play and/or listen, we’re a lovely, friendly mob.”

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