Often we’re asked what the London accent sounds like.

Rory McLeod with guitar
Rory McLeod with guitar

Well, it’s a bit daft trying to describe it – it’s better to listen to real people speaking or singing isn’t it? So, we’ve decided to launch a series of articles about real people who speak in a London accent, with posts to videos or recordings of them.

We’ll be seeking out special characters who have lived and breathed London for most of their lives and posting examples of their voices that are available online.

Today we’ve been talking to singer/songwriter/musician/storyteller Rory McLeod.

CRS: What are your London roots Rory?

Rory McLeod: My Russian grandmother was brought up in the East End, Whitechapel from 8 months old.

My mum was from Hackney but evacuated during the war to Thetford East Anglia.

I grew up in Camberwell, then moved to Northolt Middlesex, and then lived in West Kilburn.

CRS: Do you feel London has formed a big part of your identity?

Rory McLeod: I sing in my accent wherever I am – maybe I am asserting my London identity. Sometimes we assimilate where we are living- it’s another way of singing when we speak – to be understood in a place we didn’t ‘grow up’.

CRS: Has your accent changed over the years?

Rory McLeod: Well, I am rolling my R’s in Scotland etc. elocuting consciously, to be understood.

Being among Irish and Northern mates my accent has changed, I say ‘Bath’ not Barth.

The London accent is perhaps not clear for others, we talk and are often swallowing vowels and consonants etc.

CRS: Has your London accent helped or hindered you?

Rory McLeod: Hindered? Maybe – there’s a colonial attitude us British might sometimes adopt abroad, i.e.. refusing to learn another lingo, and so refusing to want to understand others from other places.

I could go on and on here! With all these London influences, it’s not surprising that Rory’s voice has that distinct London twang that we all love. And it’s something he’s made into an integral part of who he is and his work as a singer and storyteller, who tours around the UK all over the world.

Please have a look and a listen to Rory’s song Farewell Welfare,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO_xCvYGtxY and have a listen to that great voice.

With thanks to Rory McLeod