RAVEN are Stephanie Benedetti, Natalie Holt, Rachael Lander and Kirsty Mangan. London’s rock string quartet has taken the nation’s TV and media by storm with their inventive interpretations of the hard-hitting rock tracks that you never expect to hear performed by a string quartet. Their addictively passionate playing style has earned them a host of celebrity fans from the music world and beyond, and a niche of their own in the industry where nobody else braves iconic rock from such an opposite perspective as four raw string instruments.
Disillusioned with the traditional background role of the string quartet and frustrated with tired old repertoire, the quartet was formed in 2007 over a very spicy pizza in Soho. For their first performance, the girls abandoned chairs and music stands and performed Natalie’s original arrangement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – inspired by Nigel Kennedy’s rock ‘n’ roll interpretation – to an astonished Hoxton crowd. They haven’t looked back since. Only three months later and Raven were performing to millions of viewers as the resident string quartet on BBC’s Maestro, helping Blur’s Alex James and drum and bass legend Goldie to hone their conducting skills. The eventual winner, broadcaster and comedienne Sue Perkins, called the three month old Raven “s**t hot.”
Three years later, Raven’s dramatic arrangements and vibrant performances have taken them from the Macbeth pub in Hoxton to the Royal Albert Hall – from an audience of 4,000 playing with Nicola Benedetti at Glastonbury’s Classical Extravaganza to sell-out shows with Ellie Goulding at the Hammersmith Apollo – and as far afield as Tokyo and Mexico. The girls have played with live acts as diverse as Hayley Westenra and Echo and the Bunnymen and quite a few in-between, interspersed with collaborations with comedian Tim Minchin and pop impresario Guy Chambers.
Live lounge, TV & Radio
Raven’s performance with Ellie Goulding on Ellie’s BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge premiered a cover of "Rihanna’s Only Girl in the World” which presenter Fearne Cotton called “the Live Lounge performance of the year.” Another highlight was guesting on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show where the girls proved so popular that Chris’s Twitter account crashed due to the volume of tweets about Raven. The girls have since twice entertained enraptured audiences on Radio 2’s “Friday Night is Music Night”. Raven have gone on to perform for Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace as part of BBC documentary “Goldie’s Band, By Royal Appointment”, which features the talents of 12 young musicians handpicked by the show’s mentors.
Raven were recently selected to be ambassadors for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s largest Cancer Charity. They have also performed for The Prince’s Trust, Help for Heroes, UNICEF for Haiti Response, The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, Barnardos, The Variety Club, The Army Benevolent Fund and Marie Curie.