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Exclusive Shindig! Qobuz playlist #13: Magical Voices – Lost Little Girls In Music

We’re very excited to be media partners with the truly unique online streaming platform and download store Qobuz. The 13th of our monthly bespoke playlists, which take in all manner of genres and sub-genres, scenes and beyond, then and now, is, perhaps, our most ambitious yet. Focusing on women in song we travel from 1955 right up to 2024. There’s a certain style at play that we adore. We await your comments

Play here or use the scrollable frame with tracklist the bottom of the page. You can sign up for a free trial today. Plans start from £10.83 per month. For more on Qobuz read our interview with MD Dan Mackta here


It was falling in love with Amelia Coburn’s 2024 debut album, Between The Moon And The Milkman, that got me thinking about a thread that has run through music for millennia. This playlist features material released between 1955 and 2024, a period just short of 70 years. Folk music and the fairytale have gone hand in hand ever since young girls sang songs around fires in worker’s cottages, telling stories of their fears, desires and life. From Little Red Riding Hood to Amelia Coburn’s ‘See Saw’, the “lost little girl” has always strode the path between ingénue and fighter. Magical Voices attempts to recast the “lost little girl” as a powerful female force. These songs veer between innocence and sensuality, cue cinematic references Night Of The Hunter, I Start Counting, and The Wicker Man. The earliest track here, our scene setting opener, ‘Pretty Fly (Pearl’s Dream) And Lullaby’ composed by Walter Schumann and sang by Betty Benson sets the tone perfectly.

Amelia Coburn told me on the Shindig! Broadcast on Soho Radio of her love of Grimm’s fairytales, film noir, German expressionism, Scott Walker and Nick Drake. She’s 26 years old and carrying the flame. Hers is music made (and of) today that enraptures and captivates through its absolute purity. Bar the odd production flourish that denotes the time frame, all of the songs on this in-depth playlist are timeless. Somehow such genre terms as “folk”, “pop”, “psychedelic”detract from the female quality they exude.

On the cinematic front, ‘I Start Counting’, ‘Old Man Willow’, ‘Willow’s Song’, ‘O Willow Waly’ and ‘The Duke Of Burgundy’, all counter darker, even adult, subject matter with something that can only be described as masked innocence. But it’s not all witchcraft and encroaching sexuality, Shelby Flint’s ‘Someone’s Waiting For You’, from the 1977 Disney feature-length animation The Rescuers, is utterly romantic, as is the rare vocal appearance from Audrey Hepburn on our most gorgeous closing track ‘Moon River’ from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. And if the cinema serves this theme very well, so do the French. Jane Birkin, Claudine Longet, Francoise Hardy, Stereloab, Melody’s Echo Chamber and Charlotte Gainsbourg all capture in their own way the “breathy” manner so adored by fans of ever so slightly sexy French pop, and they are all in no uncertain terms in control. Broadcast’s Trish Keenan, Cobalt Chapel’s Cecelia Fage, Gwenno, Pearl Charles, and Lavinia Blackwall are, like a few of the artists in the previous list, all ladies of the 21st century locked into the finely woven musical tapestry that lays before them.

Evidently the hippie girls had the most fun, breaking down barriers that their peers on the earlier, closely related coffee house and folk club scenes, were paving the way for. There are many here, including mega star Joni Mitchell, cosmic dental nurse Linda Perhacs, Penny Nicholls, and not forgetting Grace Slick, who had sang the ultimate “lost little girl song” ‘White Rabbit’. ‘Lather’ comes from the following year, this time turning the attention on a “man boy”. The UK progressive folk-rock movement happening at roughly the same time did a lot to place women centre stage. Likky from The Incredible String Band sings of the kooky ‘Cosmic Boy’, Midwinter’s Jill Child, a young Enya in Clannad, Trees’ Celia Humphris, Mellow Candle’s Clodagh Simonds and Alison Bools, Fairport Convention’s Judy Dyble and the wandering Vashti are all prime examples of this movement.

The musical net has purposefully been cast wide with Magical Voices. Kate Bush took strange haunting music to the masses with her debut ’78 album The Kick Inside. Instead of choosing ‘Wuthering Heights’, we’ve selected the easier on the ear ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’. Shirley Collins represents the British folk revival with ‘The Cuckoo’ from her ’59 debut This England, and Cilla Black offers something decidedly mainstream, but equally sweet, to the proceedings.

Hopefully you too will find great pleasure in this genre and era defining playlist of talented females.

© Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills /Shindig! magazine in partnership with Qobuz


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