"Isabella (Izzy) Miller Bell aka Ma Bell and Madame Tragedie: Heralded as one of New Zealand's most musical Scottish imports" (NZMM July 2003).
From Europe to Australia and New Zealand on a 30 year musical odyssey this independent travelling musical luminary has performed on various platforms; from the streets, schools, and prisons, to local, national, and international festivals and events. Known for her magnetic warm stage presence and honest, sensitive yet gutsy chocolate hazlenut voice, this sassy vintage blues siren will take you on a musical journey that will lift you up to the dizziest heights and cast you down into the darkest of nights in her story of the blues.
Born a post war baby into a large family with a shared Scottish Irish heritage and rich theatre concert hall background; life as a singer and concert producer began for Izzy at a very young age when as a 7-12 year old a favourite pastime was coming up with ideas for shows to be presented in neighbourhood house concerts.
"My musical roots are steeped in the American tradition, I grew up surrounded by the voices of Slim Whitman, Hank Williams, Doris Day, Elvis, Sinatra, Billie Holiday and others of the era".
At the tender age of 16 Izzy left home to the strains of Bob Dylan singing out "how does it feel to be on your own" . From Greenock in Scotland to Handsworth in Birmingham, Izzy recalls the excitement she felt on first hearing the music known as Blue Beat emanating from the homes of West Indian immigrants. Eighteen months later she was living in Blackburn Lancashire where the Motown sound was ringing out and shaking up every dance floor.
The years between 1972 and 1981 were spent living in London developing her craft while working in offices, bars, and clubs; immersing herself in the live music scene and travelling back and forth through Europe, Asia, and Australasia, following the hippy trails. Influences include singers such as Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Maggie Bell, Van Morrison, Joan Armatrading, Stevie Nicks, and the Stones.
"My main mode of travel in those days was hitchhiking, considered safe at that time. I did several trips through Europe and Asia, once hitchhiking back from Afghanistan alone after running out of money on route to India. These experiences have definitely shaped me as an artist and story teller".
STAGED PRODUCTIONS AND CAREER HIGHLIGHTS