Record find leads to record deal for 1980s girl band Zenana

A 1980s female band whose single was discovered by chance in a second-hand shop have signed a new record deal.

Zenana, made up of Anita Gabrielle Tedder, Penny Griffiths and Ruth Elder, formed in Milton Keynes in 1983 and disbanded in 1987.

But they have now been signed to Rush Hour Records, based in Amsterdam, and have started to perform again.

Ms Tedder said since their 1987 single Witches was found by a DJ, “it’s been a roller coaster that’s continued since”.

Ruth, Penny and Anita of the band Zenana in 2023

The band (left to right, Ruth Elder, Penny Griffiths and Anita Gabrielle Tedder) got together again in September to launch their new EP

“If you’d told me in my 70th year I would ever be signing a record deal, I would have never have considered it. It’s amazing,” said Ms Tedder, who lives in Wootton, Bedfordshire.

Zenana played local pubs and clubs such as The Point in Milton Keynes and The Angel in Bedford, and in London they appeared at the Hippodrome, Dingwalls and Le Beat Route.

They recorded one single, Witches, in 1986 for the PRM label, but it never charted.

In May 2022, a 24-year-old Bristol-based DJ, Kiernan Abbott, got in contact with the group to say he had stumbled across their single in a second-hand shop in Cornwall, and he thought it was brilliant.

He then played it in clubs in Los Angeles, Paris and places that specialised in 80s music.

This led to DJ Antalheitlager, managing director of Rush Hour, signing them, as he had played Witches at festivals.

Zenana performing live in the 1980s

Their next gig will be in Bedford in July

A remastered 12in vinyl, a digital version and an extended remix of Witches by Bedmo Disco (DJ Matt Anniss, and Gareth Morgon) along with the group’s 2023 Witches With The Spell of Love EP will be released distributed by the label.

Ms Tedder said signing for the “highly respected” record company was not about “the money” but a chance for the next generation to hear the music that the group and her brother, Mike Tedder, had created.

“I couldn’t have seen it coming. I can’t get over how unexpected it is,” she said.

“You just never ever know quite where life is going to lead you, so I think we’re really just taking one day at a time. We’re just going to enjoy every moment.”

Anita Gabrielle Tedder performing live in the 1980s

Anita Gabrielle Tedder said the group are back rehearsing for the first time in decades

Two members of the group, Ms Tedder and Ms Griffiths, played an LGBTQ+ event at the Green Earth Cafe, Bedford, on Saturday, and the trio will be on the Garden Stage at the Bedford Fringe Festival on 28 July.

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