Indie rock group returns from UK tour

Band members Steven Jarvis, Frances Litten, Devon De Swardt, Tricia Brink-Jones performing on the Expresso Morning Show.

A Table View band recently returned from a European tour.

Frances Clare, an indie folk-rock band, performed on stages in France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Lead singer Frances Clare Litten grew up in Table View and says she started getting serious about music after her stepfather bought her a guitar when she was 13.

“I was always the academic kid, getting As in school and only wrote music as a way of expressing my feelings. But it was only for me. Kind of like how some people would keep a diary.”

In school, Frances took part in a lot of musicals and she did drama as a subject.

She has an eclectic taste in music, enjoying everything from folk to rap.

The band has Emil Terhovan on drums, Devon De Swardt on guitar, Tricia Brink-Jones on violin and Steven Jarvis on bass guitar. Frances does the singing.

Devon’s dad bought him his first guitar when he was 12 and he spent his teen years jamming with his uncle, John Mair, of the 80s rock band, Sweatband.

“I studied Western Classical Performance at UCT under James Grace, and since graduating in 2007, I’ve been working as a session guitarist and music teacher,” he says.

Tricia was 8 when she started taking violin lessons at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre.

“My grandfather had left us a violin dated 1886. My parents got it restored, and I played on it until my 4th year of a Bachelor of Music degree. I finished a Bachelor Honours and a Masters at Stellenbosch University, where I also took classical vocal lessons in 2010.”

Steven has been a fan of music all his life but after seeing Francois van Coke at Kirstenbosch when he was 13, he realised it was what he wanted to do.

“I only started playing bass at 15, and by 18 I was playing grade 8 pieces. Then, after school, I jumped into the local gigging scene full time. I still gig regularly while I am studying a Bachelor of Music in Musicology through Unisa.”

In January, the band started the Venus Project, where they have mostly female musicians performing.

Frances says she feels there are not enough female-led bands in the local music industry and the Venus Project helps address this.

The project also raises funds for The Lalela Project, which collects donations of sanitary pads.

“We want to empower young girls and the focus of the Venus Project is to show that women should be recognised in the music industry,” Frances says.

Frances Clare will tour America from December to January and will be releasing a new song soon.