Gig preview: When Vicky meets Cara Dillon...

Dragonfly Tattoo's lead singer Vicky Whelan. (Picture by Drazen Priganica)
Dragonfly Tattoo's lead singer Vicky Whelan. (Picture by Drazen Priganica)

By Graham Chalmers

The last time she sang at Harrogate Theatre it was in the cosy confines of its tiny studio space supporting Harrogate singer-songwriter Karl Culley.

Next week Vicky Whelan, the girl from Dragonfly Tattoo, will be on the main stage in front of a potential audience of 500 supporting the award-winning Cara Dillon.

It’s an amazing turn of events for the talented Vicky, partly because she is a huge fan of Cara’s herself, writes Graham Chalmers.

Vicky said: “A few years ago a good friend lent me one of Cara’s albums. I’ve been a big fan ever since. She has an astonishing voice, absolutely breathtaking. I’m really looking forward to hearing Cara and her band - once I’ve performed!”

Like Vicky, Cara, who was recently nominated for Folk Singer Of The Year in the latest BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, likes her largely acoustic music to cross genres,

Acclaimed for bringing together traditional and contemporary elements, Irish-born Dillon has won major commercial success since her eponymous debut album was released in 2001.

It’s a path Vicky is keen to follow, through both her atmospheric and haunting acoustic band Dragonfly Tattoo and solo career. And she feels she has something else in common with Cara beyond the music.

Vicky said: “I feel a certain affinity with Cara, being a wife and mother who has tried to maintain her artistic identity. I have a huge respect for that. I know first hand it can be a tricky thing to do.”

When Vicky steps on stage at Harrogate Theatre on Friday, April 10, it will be one of this mum and teacher’s biggest-ever shows.

Vicky said: “It’s very exciting. It will be quite a different experience from the studio gig. It’s a great opportunity to play some of my new solo material that I’ve written, as well as Dragonfly Tattoo material.”

And, like Cara, Vicky is always developing. Vicky said: “I’m already talking to a producer about a solo project, which will be released under the name Serephina, perhaps involving some sequencing and beats.”