Thursday, 18 June 2015

Madam Scorcher

My latest guest to be washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea is one of Europe's top reggae DJ's, the fabulous Madam Scorcher.

Madam Scorcher (AKA Kathy McGrath) is unique in the fact that she plays female vocal only ska and reggae on vinyl. She has DJ'd at many events, as you will learn :

"Its funny when you think about it, on speaking to my mother about their musical tastes, as some bits I knew but wanted to delve a bit more, I can now see where I’ve got mine from, cleverly 'amalgamated' from the pair of them : 

My father being keen on bands such as Jethro Tull, The Pogues and Ian Dury & the Blockheads. He was also quite good at playing the saxophone, especially The Muppets theme tune. My mother on the other hand would be enjoying the fluffiness of Motown, 70’s disco and singers such as Crystal Gale, Barbara Dickson and Gloria Gaynor.

I can see now why at 7 years old my first two albums I bought were Blondie’s 'Parallel Lines' and Abba’s 'Super Trouper'... yeah, I know, not doing my creditability any favours!!!

All through my life growing up I’ve strangely always swayed towards female singers, apart from a couple of teenage years where I crossed over to the dark side of heavy metal! but singers like Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet, Bjork, Amy Winehouse and Madonna were certainly a big part of my musical life. 

So Madam Scorcher is born and it was inevitable that I would play out female only vocals and I think I’m the only DJ that is doing this in the Ska, Rock steady and Reggae genre internationally.  

I’ve been very fortunate over the last few years playing at many events such as Madness Minehead Weekender, Cambersands Scooter Rally, Isle of Wight Reggae Train, Phil Bush’s Sound & Pressure Weekender, Up the Junction, KlubSkank, Skamouth, Specialized, Folkestone Skafest, Music Mania, Skinhead Reunion, BWM @Santa pod to name a few.

I've also been lucky enought to play for such artists such as Rhoda Dakar, Lee Thompson’s Ska Orchestra, The Skatalites and The Selecter. Recently I have been branching out into Europe thanks to Soulboys Vs Rudeboys, which is very exciting!!! 

So, five songs that I would take onto a desert island to musically mesmerise me and turn my stomach into a flutter or just give me goose bumps and  make me want to get up and dance are…. "

Edwin Starr - Contact

"I couldn’t choose a reggae song to describe my passion for dancing, like maybe I would be expected to, as there’s far to many that give me the same feeling that I’m about to describe.

I am partial to a bit of 70’s disco and this takes me back to when I was about 13, a keen disco dancer in my sparkly lilac leotard, prancing and skipping about and hopefully impressing the panel of judges??? 

And if any song can get you moving where it grabs you from your feet and your stomach goes all weird, you know, the same way as when you go over a bridge in a fast car, I feel that this song does it for me!!! 

It certainly worked for me then, getting me a nice shiny gold medal and a certificate with top marks.  To this day whenever I hear this song it still gives me that same feeling... and I still remember that dance routine."

Pat Kelly - Twelfth of Never

"This beautiful song can only remind me of my partner Darren, who’s love and support has been unconditional, or “until the twelfth of never”

Without meeting him there would be no Madam Scorcher simple as that.

The fact is that before I met him I was just a normal working mother.  I had lost my identity after 15 years of marriage and going through a divorce. If someone had of said to me back then “Oh by the way you’re going to become a skinhead and DJ all over the place” I would of laughed my backside off!!! 

Me???  Wear ankle swingers, braces and men’s shoes. I don’t think so... standing there in my long hair, make up and high heels!!!"

Claudette - Boss Cocky

"As my collection of 45’s was starting to grow and my list was getting bigger, this tune was the turning point.

Most of my small box of records at that time were either given to me by Darren, (he had a vast collection and I’m happy to say that male DJ’s were overlooking female songs, so he felt no desire to have them) or I was spending under £20, as surely I should not be paying out more then that!!!

Then this record came up and I really wanted it, I loved it!!!

But hold on, its going to cost me FIFTY POUNDS!!!

And that’s when I realised I had become a vinyl addict.

I bought it."

Madness - On The Town featuring Rhoda Dhakar

"Okay I’m going to cheat a bit here as I can’t choose a song each for Madness and Rhoda as I’ll run out of tunes. This song is quite appropriate for my past life and “The Liberty of Norton Folgate” is just such a superb album, and the first Madness one I’ve ever bought!!! 

Madness had not really interested me. I never took much notice of them in the 80’s, in fact I completely missed all the 2tone stuff that was going on, I was far too busy being a material girl. Now they are part of my life, privileged to know them, play for them in one way or another and being proposed to on their stage in front of thousands of people will always be a cherished memory. 

Then there’s Rhoda. Certainly a woman that inspires me, a strong and intelligent lady and all I can say is the day she messaged to ask me to DJ for her Album launch in 2014 is still something I’m extremely chuffed and proud to have done. 

My first gig where it was all women entertainers, so it meant so much to me to be part of that."

King Cannon - Soul Scorcher

"This song is the pinnacle of what I think musically describes who I am and what I’m about. 

A song I want to hear when I’m getting ready to go out, polishing my shoes, making sure everything is pressed and just looking smart.

A song I want to hear blasting out loud in a dimly lit room with wooden flooring and skinheads dancing tall and proud…

This is the song that says it all for me, deep, strong and passionate and this is my passion, its my way of life….. "


Among the many events where you can hear Madam Scorcher playing her unique sounds on vinyl is the Music Mania Festival in July :

Not forgetting Skamouth in November :