Jazz singer, pianist, songwriter, ethnographic photographer
The Touch 1982 ~ 87
Original line-up: George (Georgette) Okey, vocals, guitar, backing vocals; Luce (Lucinda) Cook, vocals, bass, backing vocals; Sally Beautista, vocals, guitar, backing vocals (about a year); Scottie Swankee, vocals, drums, backing vocals. Second line-up: Carole Nelson, synth, sax (about 6 months ’83-ish); George (Georgette) Okey, vocals, guitar, backing vocals; Luce (Lucinda) Cook, vocals, bass, backing vocals; Scottie Swankee, vocals, drums, backing vocals. Third line-up (from about 1984): George (Georgette) Okey, vocals, guitar, backing vocals; Gill Moon, drums, percussion, backing vocals; Luce (Lucinda) Cook, vocals, bass, backing vocals. Sound engineer and roadie, Aviva Anson
The Touch was a London-based band that played many gigs around the country in the 1980s and toured Holland and Germany. As a three piece line-up they successfully applied for a GLC capital grant, enabling the group to earn some money rather than all their payments going on PA and van hire. They also ran a PA company, providing affordable sound reinforcement for many small community festivals. After their amicable split, they passed on their PA equipment and van to Hackney Women’s Music Project, based in the basement of Dalston’s Rio cinema; their hope was that other women’s and specifically Black women’s music projects would benefit in the future.
The Touch photos courtesy of Georgette Okey; photos of The Touch line ups by Louise Wadley
Georgette has gone on to become a film-maker; en route she continued playing session guitar into the 1990s, working with vocalists Sheila Smith (supporting The Communards), David McAlmont and Yazz. In 1992 she was one of only two women guitarists invited by Rock School and Trinity College to compose contemporary graded exams for drums bass and guitar.
After ceasing touring she became a recording artist and briefly worked with Yasuaki Shimizu for John Hades’ Future Perfect Management; recordings of the period remain unreleased. Throughout the 90s she worked as an independent sound engineer and record producer (she was the record and mix engineer for the award winning song ‘Eye On The Prize’ by Fola, MOBO Best Newcomer Award 1997), she designed and taught sound engineering courses at a number of universities, colleges and art organisations, gained an MSc, designed, built and operated her independent production studio Rubyfruits in Stratford, east London (The London Olympics necessitated a relocation to north London). Working under the name G.O Georgette continues to occasionally compose, engineer and produce music for herself and other independent artists. She can also be found creating sound design and audio dubs for film.
As a director her first short film, ‘Ginger Gora and the Gentles’ (Rubyfruits, 2006) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1860237/ , a lesbian comedy, premiered at The East End Film Festival 2006 with a screening at the Genesis Cinema. It was also selected by Tongues of Fire Asian Women’s Film Festival 2006 (nominated for best short) and screened at the ICA; it played out on ITV?’ iPlayer for three years before it went on to be selected for India’s first gay film festival, Kashish – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2010. It was also one of the films chosen to promote the second festival; the screening received a standing ovation. Her recently completed second short film, Matchmaker (Rubyfruits, 2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1808292/ a drama about a gay football fan, has just been selected by Kashish – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2011 (May 25th – 29th) http://www.mumbaiqueerfest.com. Georgette is currently writing her first feature film script.
Ann Day, drums, percussion; Julia Doyle, bass; Julia Farringdon, flute
Tour de Force late 1970s/early 80s
Bernice Cartwright, bass; Deirdre Cartwright, lead guitar; Val Lloyd, drums; Viv Corringham, vocals
Tour de Force photos courtesy of Deirdre Cartwright
Ann Day, Ros Davies, Sarha Moore