Hanging up the Kettle

Cilla and Artie prepare for their final Singing Kettle shows
Cilla and Artie prepare for their final Singing Kettle shows

‘Spout, handle, lid of metal...’

These have been words close to Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise’s hearts for years.

Artie, Cilla and Gary as they were in 1990

Artie, Cilla and Gary as they were in 1990

But now the founders of children’s favourite The Singing Kettle are preparing to take a step back and retire from the performance side of the company after 30 years.

They will perform their last Fife show at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline on February 16.

However, it’s not the end of The Singing Kettle.

The group will continue and the process of recruiting a new female member to join Gary Coupland and Kevin Macleod is almost complete.

Cilla told the Press: “It’s been a fantastic career. We have had an amazing journey to arrive at this point and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“I’m sad but no doubt you can hear from my croaking voice I have served my time.

“I feel like I have sung myself out a wee bit, and it’s time for me to hang up the kettle.

“I said I was going to retire at 55 and I’m now 60, so I’ve stretched it a bit.

“But I think now is the right time.”

Artie’s also calling it a day on stage, but although they are retiring from the performing side of things, the husband and wife team will be continuing to work behind the scenes.

“I’ll really miss the performance side so I’m trying to find things to replace that with,” said Artie.

“I’m working very hard on the new production, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, which I’m producing.

“It’s taking all my time and I’ve deliberately not thought about it [retiring] too much.

“I’m talking about putting together a show as well with a colleague who used to work with years ago, so you might see me on stage again in a different form.”

Cilla added: “I’ll still be writing songs, we don’t want to change it totally.

“If you put the radio on you know an Elton John song when you hear it.

“I’m not saying we’re Elton John, but we have a special sound, people know a Kettle song and we don’t want to change that.”

Since The Singing Kettle came to life in the late 1980s, the group has enjoyed great success at home and abroad.

Success which could not have been foreseen by those behind the idea.

Cilla continued: “We started in folk music and did about six to eight albums, but it was really my daughter Jane that instigated it [The Singing Kettle].

“She was about seven or eight and asked me to record some of the songs I’d sing to her.

“We didn’t plan it, it just happened.

“The Singing Kettle cassette sold hundreds and thousands and people started asking ‘where can we see it?’.

“So then we started doing concerts, but over the years it has become more theatrical and now it’s got whole storylines.”

Did they ever think things would grow to be as big as they are now?

“Not for a minute,” Artie said, “it was just a simple project to put together Scottish songs for children.”

“We soon realised it was much bigger than we imagined.

“I didn’t think we would fill all the halls and theatres I visited as a child.

“The highlights are probably some concerts we’ve done.

“I loved playing the Palladium in London and we had a two-week stint in Washington. But most of all I’ve enjoyed playing in Scotland to be honest.

“Scottish audiences get what they deserve and are such a great audience, they are quite demanding.”

Cilla explained: “We’ve been around the world, in Australia, the Middle East, Hong Kong, but Scotland has been the backbone.

“Basically The Singing Kettle has been supported by Scotland.”

So aside from producing and writing, what else is in store for the couple in their retirement?

“It will be a dramatic change in lifestyle,” said Cilla. “The diary has been full ahead of time for so long, but this year all it’s got in it is family birthdays.

“It will be nice to take time out and see people, who in the past I’ve maybe not seen as much of as I would have liked.

“It’s been a bit strange knowing this is the last time we will touring.

“Dunfermline, and indeed Fife has been of huge importance to our careers.

“We want to thank all our Kettle fans and are really looking forward to saying farewell and having one last emotional singalong with everyone during our ‘Fairytale Castle Show’ at the Alhambra.”

The Singing Kettle are at the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline on Saturday February 16.