Beatrice Parvin grew up in Oxfordshire and was educated at Goldsmiths College. She studied North African dance then performed for several years in Europe and the Middle East. In 2015 she graduated from the MFA course in creative writing at Kingston University with distinction. ‘Captain Swing and the Blacksmith’ is her first novel.
Her BA at Goldsmiths in English and History of Art, focused on the connection between word and image. This study gave her the space in which to examine interdisciplinary art form and the relationship between creativity, culture and political movements.
While there, she began studying North African dance, in particular the traditions of the Maghreb which suited her natural inclination to combine form. The dance and music of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia unite Berber, Arab, Turkish and European traditions. The dialectic between culture and the problems that surround the appropriation or perceived appropriation of other traditions informs her writing and performing. This issue is explored in an article, From Berber Rhythms to British Roots pub. Folk London, February 2018.
On completion of her BA she toured extensively for 15 years as a solo dancer with Balkan and Turkish maestros, Mukka and London’s leading exponents of North African music El Andaluz, for arts centres, festivals, and private events nationally and internationally. These music traditions share a natural kinship due to the Ottoman empire which extended to the borders of Morocco and in Europe as far as The Austro-Hungarian empire.
With Mukka, as well as many small clubs and venues, she performed at: Buckingham Palace gardens for the Golden Jubilee, Purcell room, ‘Watch this Space’ National Theatre, Trafalgar Square festival celebrating Roma culture, Glastonbury Festival, Festival Hall, Hampton Court flower show, Refugee week, World City Music Village for Cultural Co-operation in Kew Gardens, Victoria Park and Regents Park, ‘Beyond the Border’ storytelling festival. She toured in the United Arab Emirates, Eastern Europe and the ‘Waterford Spraoi’ festival in Ireland and contributed percussion to a recording for a John Peel session.
Performing highlights with El Andaluz include the Barbican, supporting the legendary El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers and . She toured in Germany with Saladin’s Orchestra for the ‘Die Oriental’ festival, Dusseldorf. This performance included World Music luminaries such as Justin Adams, Salah Dawson Miller and the dancer and ethnomusicologist, Amel Tafsout.
She has contributed articles and reviews on the history and culture behind Roma and Arabic dance in UK and American publications and continues to do so: Habibi Magazine – ‘Amel’s Hands’. Mosaic Magazine – ‘Dancing Feet and Healing Hands’, ‘Dancing Through Adversity’, ‘Living the Spiral’, ‘Ritual, Dance and Song.’
While at Kingston University, she became fascinated with the study of language, narratives and archetypes found in British folk song. These elements form the basis of her historical writing. How apparently simple folk traditions become complex layered art forms when you begin to examine their structure and origin informs her creativity and research. One of her greatest challenges in the writing of ‘Captain Swing and the Blacksmith’ was creating a historical voice without intrusive dialect. The use of coloquialism and authentic phrasing, then linking them to particular cultural and social influence is of paramount fascination. The changing nature of language and chance inclusion of foreign lexicon colours her writing. The inaccessible ruined village of Imber and the ancient Ridgeway path which passes Wayland’s Smithy, was of huge inspiration, yet the poetry of the songs guided the texture and sound quality of the language.
Last December, she presented a paper on the relationship between folk song and narrative titled, Landscape and Melody.