During the week of Female Takeover, I got to meet a range of different characters. One of which was Yssi Wombwell, a local musician and a regular supporter of The Warren.
When I first set out to write this, I found it really difficult. There’s just not that much in the internet about Yssi. So, first chance I got, I asked to interview Yssi. It was much more of a chat than an interview, and I learned some interesting things.
Ysabelle Wombwell is a singer/songwriter based in Hull, who is still of the age to be classed as a young person. Her music is often compared to Tracy Chapman and Beth Orton, although her sound crosses a range of genres, including reggae, folk, rock and pop. In her youthful music career she has supported The Magic Numbers and Noah & The Whale and released a self-titled album.
She joined the Female Takeover for the full four days, offering a range of workshops which cover performance and confidence skills, tuition on keyboard and guitar, lyric writing, and sound engineering.
Her introduction to music was with thanks to her sister, as their parents are both deaf. Yssi admitted that this meant when it came to music they were unleashed from the usual restrictions of teenagers experimenting with finding their voice, as there was no concept of noise control. Along with her brother, she remembers pretending to record radio shows, playing at being a DJ, and at about 8 years old her parents bought her a keyboard.
This lead to her taking up a course on Music Performance at Hull College, where she was introduced to a variety of musicians and opportunities. Open Mic nights while at college gave her a chance to perform solo in front of an audience, with performances at Durty Nelly’s and work with the British Urban Collective.
Her album was released in 2010, with The Reigning Geese as full backing band. Since then, she has worked with cover bands as well as performing both solo and with the band. When we questioned her about the length of time between this album and mention of an EP, she admitted that she had suffered with chronic writer’s block. The trouble with covering music in order to pay the bills is that you don’t want to pick up the guitar when you get home, much like any other job where you need a release. But there are plans for 5 or 6 tracks to be released on the EP in 2015.
A young woman teaching young women, Yssi is a skilled musician and an inspiration to those who attended the Takeover. Taking both a support role and performing solo, she showed that with confidence and determination a woman can take on any position on stage.
Originally written for Browse Magazine.