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world : Reformed 1980s band 'grabbing every single moment'

world : Reformed 1980s band 'grabbing every single moment'
world : Reformed 1980s band 'grabbing every single moment'

Thursday 13 June 2024 08:45 AM

Nafeza 2 world - A 1980s female band said they were "grabbing every single moment" ahead of their first full gig in about 38 years, the re-release of their record and a possible film deal.

Zenana, made up of Anita Gabrielle Tedder, Penny Griffiths and Ruth Elder, formed in Milton Keynes in 1983 but disbanded four years later.

They were signed to Rush Hour Records, based in Amsterdam, earlier this year, after their was discovered in a second-hand shop by a DJ who fell in love with it.

Speaking ahead of their gig in Bedford this Friday, Ms Tedder, 70, said she did not know how long their new-found fame would last, but Ms Griffiths, 57, said it was great to "just feel young again".

In May 2022, a 24-year-old Bristol-based DJ, Kiernan Abbott, contacted the group to say he had stumbled across a copy of Witches, which never charted, in a second-hand shop in Cornwall.

He said it was brilliant and had played it in clubs in Los Angeles, Paris and places that specialised in '80s music.

This led to DJ Antalheitlager, managing director of Rush Hour, signing them.

A remastered 12in vinyl, a digital version and an extended remix of Witches by Bedmo Disco (DJ Matt Anniss and Gareth Morgon) is due to be released on Friday, 13 September, as "DJ Antal thought it was the perfect day", Ms Tedder said.

In the '80s, Zenana performed in pubs and clubs in Milton Keynes, Bedford and at the prestigious Hippodrome in London.

Since reforming, they have played a couple of small warm-up gigs - one featuring just Penny and Anita, and another at a Queer Variety Show in Bethnal Green, showcasing three songs.

But their upcoming concert on Friday, at Bedford's Cellar Bar, will be a chance for people to hear 10 songs - including the extended remix of Witches for the first time.

"This is the first one at home, Bedford, for nearly 38 years," said Ms Tedder.

"Our back-catalogue is huge - we've got so much stuff, it's not just the one track."

Ms Griffiths said she had struggled with her mental health, losing both of her parents within a year and separating from her husband, so the group's reformation came "just at the right time as a pick-me-up".

"It really did remind me who I am again," she said.

Ms Elder, 64, who had a heart operation only three weeks ago, said: "I feel amazing.

"We're older and wiser, we've lived, we still get on really well, we've shocked ourselves."

Ms Tedder said: "We're just grabbing every single moment. We don't know how long it's going to last.

"We've had illnesses, we've been through so much - just to revisit these songs and to have such a laugh, it's been so good for us."

She said since their record's resurgence hit the headlines, there had been "approaches from a couple of film companies interested in our story".

If '80s music lovers cannot make it to Bedford on Friday, Zenana are set to perform again at Bedfringe Festival on 28 July, featuring a group of dancers all over the age of 55.

However, they are hopeful another big event could be added to their ever growing schedule.

Ms Tedder said: "Is it still too late for Glastonbury?"

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