This acoustic singer/songwriter duo first sang together in the early 70s in their local folk club ('The Jerry') in Prudhoe, Northumberland. Val moved to London while Jimmy remained in the North East enjoying modest success with Equinox, Bluestone Edge and ATS and also running the Rising Sun folk club in Crawcrook.
They formed jiva when Jimmy (the 'ji') and Val (the 'va') got together again in 2002 after 30 years. Val moved back to Northumberland after contacting Jimmy via Friends Reunited. Since then they have been building a solid reputation as performers of self-penned material and their own arrangements of other carefully chosen songs.
40 years after having first met, they finally tied the knot - travelling to America in August 2009 to be married at Taylor Guitars in El Cajon, California.
The song below is not typical of them but captures how some folksingers feel spending most of their spare time preparing, travelling and performing.
You don't hear me on the radio - you don't see me on TV
I never played America, never made the grade
I've done the songs of Dylan 'bout a hundred thousand times
They say that I should sing the blues when I'm feeling low
Words and music © jiva 2007 - www.jiva.co.uk
jiva also shared a song writing checklist, saying: "We don't have specific 'rules' and we don’t write in a formulaic manner. However we often find that songs which satisfy some (not necessarily all) of our 5R criteria seem to work better than those that don't.
R1: Reason, rationale, raison d'être
We never set out to write with 5R in mind - but examining the R factors might help us pinpoint why a song isn't working or maybe help us work out what's 'missing'. We've recently realised that a sixth R can help kick start the process:
R6: Rage... quite often, when one or both of us is annoyed or riled about something, a song is occasionally born as a form of catharsis. The casual observer/listener might never know what prompted us into songwriting action for a particular song, but songs that emerge this way generally have a very strong R1 factor!" (2011)