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Music saved my life

Hotly-tipped singer Karima Francis is back on the road again and heading for Arlington Arts

Karima Francis returns to Arlington Arts on Thursday, on the release of her new album.

In November 2008 Karima's debut single – Chasing the Morning Light – saw her shoot from obscurity to everyone's 'Hotly Tipped' list for the new year – including Observer, Mojo, Daily Mail and many others. That rollercoaster year ended with her debut performance on Later… with Jools Holland.

Her introspective, heartfelt songs of observation and beauty reminiscent of a young Joan Armatrading or Tracy Chapman won over fans across the UK. However, with the weight of expectation on her shoulders, Karima Francis fell ill and disappeared from the media spotlight.

Now, with a much anticipated second album imminent, she is back on the road with a new collection of songs and a much better frame of mind.

She summed up the situation in a recent interview with Shaun Curran saying: “I just felt a bit poorly. I had to go away for a while. It was strange, I was doing everything... Jools Holland... and then the next minute people were like ‘you have to go away'.

“That's why this is so great. It feels amazing to be given another chance, to explain to my fans and the people who were there that... the music has saved my life. It has actually saved my life. I don't think I'd be here now at all.

“I wasn't aware of what was going on, I didn't realise what I'd lost until last year. And it's the hardest thing to get up and run again and be strong. But all I can do is try, isn't it?”

Arlington Arts' artistic director Tony Trigwell-Jones recommends a listen to Karima's work, visithttp://www.myspace.com/karimafrancis

Opening the bill are Scattered Few. With influences ranging from Zero 7 to Metallica, it's not surprising that the band's atmospheric music defies genre. Based in Reading, they aim to make music that is captivating and truly original, without resorting to gimmicks and posturing.

Tickets, priced £9 in advance, are available from the box office on (01635) 244246, online via www.arlingtonarts.co.uk and from Mary Hare Hearing Centre, Weaver's Walk, Newbury.

Karima also appears at The Cellars, Portsmouth (Sept 23) and The Star, Guildford (Sept 24).

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