Musician Lizzie Ball (St John’s 1999) shares the sounds which shaped her student days at Cambridge
This is particularly special, as I was asked to perform the violin solo with the St John’s choir for the Remembrance Day service. The names in the choir at that time were extraordinary – Allan Clayton, Iestyn Davies, Chris Gabbitas – and everyone was at that level. It was such a calm,moving and beautiful moment. The choir was a huge part of my life – I used to go there almost every night and just listen to them sing.
I picked up this CD somewhere in Cambridge because it just looked interesting. It’s a fusion of Latin and jazz – a real 90s New York sound. I’ll always associate this with my room in New Court and its ridiculous pink lampshade. From the outside, the room would glow pink and everyone called it the Pink Light Zone. We always had great music on, but this album was special: I’d put it on to get me through the essay all-nighters.
My first-ever singing gig was at an end-of-year party – that special time at the end of the third year, after exams. A friend suggested we pick 10 old-school house tracks for me to sing while he played. The rehearsal was the day our results were posted. I got my best friend to ring me on this bricklike mobile phone – I’ll never forget standing in a house in London, singing old-school house music and waiting for the phone to ring.
Blue in Green was the soundtrack of my second year: late nights, cigarette smoke, beautiful jazz. I remember a lot of late-night sessions listening to this and trying to play the Bill Evans piano solo, which is one of the most admired in the repertoire.
Lizzie Ball is a violinist, vocalist and creative producer. In 2018 she won a Daily Mail Inspirational Women Award.
Music, St John's College
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