Jo Mango
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Jo Mango

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
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Mike Rimmer and I have long been fans of the oh-so-delicate music of Jo Mango and if you've yet to encounter the ethereal output of this Scottish singer/songwriter let me say at the outset, I consider her one of the most original song stylists on the UK scene. The Café throng were soon entranced by Jo's little-girl-lost voice of brittle sweetness as she accompanied herself on various instruments singing songs inspired by such events as "the time I burnt my kitchen down." Her introduction to one song, involving an insect eating fungus she'd seen on TV's Planet Earth was rather stomach-churning and seemed to bear little relationship to the beautiful song that followed. There was a killer last line to one song ("Life would get very dull if we knew what would come next") after which Jo picked up an omnichord ("an instrument only made in the '80s") and which sounded like a cross between a celeste and a church organ and perfectly suited that eerily haunting voice. There was another rather gloomy song introduction about "Glasgow, the knife crime capitol of Europe" while the closer, Jo's latest vinyl release "The Moth & The Moon/The Black Sun" was an absolute treasure.
- Cross Rhythms


One song stood out from Sunday’s BandStAnd gig at St Andrews’ diminutive (and cosy) Barron Theatre. It was about books, and the most striking line was this:

imagining touching was reading and reading was knowing and knowing was possible

Half sung, half whispered, dead simple. It made me want to get back to some kind of reverence for the physical form, the tactility of books, - La Terrasse


"Her songs are very much alive, she diffuses emotion on levels that touch you and each listen reveals another new and deeper layer to explore of her fine artistry, she is, without doubt, the best artist I’ve heard so far this year. Simply stunning…" - www.folkradio.com


“Jo Mango is uniquely gifted – as a musician and as a performer. She writes the most beautiful songs and her sense of fun in life has made this last year that I have been on the road with her a luminous one. Kind, original, musical and clever – I know Jo will go far.” - Vashti Bunyan


Originally from Aberdeen, this Glasgow-based female singer-songwriter produces a great line in quirky, left-field acoustic pop, but with a wide range of instruments and a full backing band at her disposal, anything from rock to jazz can get thrown into the mix. Recently offered deals by a couple of major record companies, Mango chose to release her material on an independent label, and she was recently invited to do a turn on the next Reindeer Section album by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, not a man normally known to back a dud. A charismatic presence live, Jo Mango is definitely one exotic fruit to seek out. - The Scotsman - Scotland


No-one is knocking on the door harder than Jo Mango...Original melodically and lyrically, entertaining in musicality and instrumentation, and more than talented enough to be on a bigger stage this time next year. - The Fly - UK


Keeping up the food theme is Jo Mango’s ‘The Antidote’ EP (Self-release) – Four stars – a compellingly beautiful acoustic folk ramble from a Scottish artist destined for bigger things. - The List - Scotland


Working as a photographer taking pictures of screaming, whiny little kids sat on Santa's knee, or rather in this day and age, sat at a distance in case he's a paedo, is a hellish occupation at the best of times, the only saving grace this weekend came in the form of this wonderfully gorgeous little album from Jo Mango that was sneaked onto the player at every opportunity.

Starting with the magnificent 'My Lung' you are lowered into a soft caressing lull of musical tranquillity. Its odd metallic shimmering met with that lovely voice in which you find maternal comfort, strong female beauty and an answer to all the problems that previously inhabited your mind, is a mixture so sweet and solid you're immediately hooked, even if it is by one of the most subtle and saying songs this side of Ella Fitzgerald.

'Tea Lights' sets up the pro forma for most of the rest of the album, the acoustic guitar coming into play much more from now on, complimenting the array of strange instruments featured, from the toy piano to the kalimba and from the flute to the squeezebox. This Scottish heroine has got the balance just right with this record 'Paperclips and Sand,' and you become addicted to its impassioned magnitude and find yourself listening from start to finis time after time. Trust me, it really is that good.

As the snow falls outside and the fire warms you reflecting its golden glow in your lover's eyes and cheeks as they pass you a Christmas present and a robin rockets past outdoors, this provides the perfect soundtrack, it's warmth and contentment and all the feelings connected made into pure music. 'How I'd Be' has elements of Katie Melua about it mixed with Travis at their most subtle and kindly, 'Last Laugh Of The Laughter' it resembles, and it's a brilliant brilliant song full of subdued emotion and energy.

If Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame ate a tonne of valium it might have this result, that ripe and feverish simmering is there, just released in a much quieter fashion, albeit just as passionate. 'Take Me Back' has a flute melody running over the top which is mellow and traditional and takes your wandering mind away to higher plains of relaxation and soulful solitude... 'Hard Day' is a bit more boppy and is alike to Bright Eyes in some ways, the spinning drumbeat comes in and all is held down by that lovely sumptuous vocal over the top, alike to Leigh Nash's (Sixpence None The Richer) touching tones. 'Harlow 1959' too is a great song, a bit more fiery and a bit more spread out, nearing Bjork-esque vocal mastery, and a perfect way to sail off...

Yes indeed, Miss Mango's marvellous masterpiece of beauty and charm and eloquent melancholic vocalising is well worth buying and worshipping until the end of your time, trust me as a trusted music journo to a reader I think of as a friend in need of musical guidance, Jo Mango is where it's at 2006, what a way to start the new year... - RoomThirteen.com


The delicate touch on ‘My Lung’, in which she introduces the album with the simplicity of kalimba and her vocals kicks off a collection of impeccable acoustic (and not so acoustic) gems, such as haven’t been heard since Kathryn Williams’ Little Black Numbers or Damian Rice’s O, both of which propelled their authors into the harsh light of the mainstream.

Mango’s debut is as much mountain-moving music as either of these two; there is certainly something of Williams in Mango’s whimsical lyrics and poetic view of the world. Her themes are loss, fragility, relationships, confusion; nothing new there then, but it is all pulled off without sentimentality or dropping into the realm of the maudlin.

The beautiful duet ‘Gomer’, with Alan Peacock’s plaintiff and soft Scots vocals complements Mango’s, building to an emotional, unsentimental climax. ‘Hard Day’ comes in with a rockier feel with a driving bass and a swift-brushed kit, lifting the pace just as it seems to be trailing off and the it continues to rise with the effervescent ‘Blue Light’, which has a contemporary almost nu-metal edge. Iit is the level of contrast that really sets her apart from the majority of acoustic singer-songwriters, hinting at a deep well of inspiration and talent.

Jo Mango has been being offered support from major labels now since 2003, but decided to keep herself unfettered, releasing her debut on her own label Low-Five, but such is the strength of Paperclips and Sand it’s easy to see 2006 being a huge year for her. - The Fly


Discography

The Moth & The Moon / The Black Sun - 2010
My Lung Single - Lo-Five Records - 2007
Paperclips and Sand - Lo-Five Records - 2006
The Antidote EP - self released - out 2004

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Bio

After a pregnant pause, Jo Mango has returns to releasing her captivating psych-folk with an album, produced by Adem Ilhan, set to be released in 2010.

Mango has spent the past four years collaborating and with the likes of Vashti Bunyan, Idlewild's Roddy Woombe, Teenage Fanclub, Vetiver, Devandra Banhart - and even David Byrne in a sell-out show at Carnegie Hall.

Now back focusing on her own music, she has released a small teaser of the album to come in the form of a beautiful limited-edition double A-side 10" on etched vinyl. The songs are ravishing in their intimacy, artistry of production and palpable closeness. The song-writing shows a new maturity and darkness of metaphor, tempered with the quiet, considered beauty of a slowly and delicately paced lyrical journey.

The songs are vocalised through a new singing technique uncovered through Jo's slow recovery from the loss of her voice from vocal nodules, and a distillation of sound through a world of influences from years of touring. They combine Mango's trademark multi-instrumentalism with Adem's ear for subtly altered acoustic and unobtrusive electronic sounds.