KATIE Melua plays York Barbican on Wednesday night with the Gori Women’s Choir on the penultimate night of their travels through 11 European countries.

Promoting her new Ultimate Collection double CD and revisiting her 2016 Christmas album, In Winter, Katie is performing 37 shows this season with the choir from her native Georgia, the former Soviet republic.

“We started in Scandinavia, Sweden first, Norway, Denmark, and we’ve been to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland, and now back to Germany,” she said, on the phone, in the third week of a tour that would also take in Austria, Luxembourg, England, Wales and, lastly, Scotland.

Lots of travel, lots of shows, in quick succession! “It’s a little bit frightening!” says Katie. “We have 16 members of the Gori Women’s Choir and four brilliant musicians with us, and it’s an amazing feeling doing these really special shows together, with the best songs from all my albums.”

For the first time, the show features the visual flair of animation duo Karni and Saul. “They did the A Perfect World video for me, which did really well, winning a whole heap of innovation awards and we’d been looking to do something else together,” says Katie. “They’d never done a live show together, and we thought, ‘how can we make a coherent journey through the show’s two strands, the choir and the other songs, without distracting from the songs?’.

“They’ve done it in a meaningful way, not flashy or inappropriate. There’s a certain tone to tour-concert visuals working, and I know that the heart of the concert is the songs and the reason people are there is their connection to the songs and you can’t take away from that. That’s the framework but you’re free to work from that start with the visuals.

“When you’re in an indoor environment – as opposed to the world of nature where things are constantly moving – everything is essentially still and it’s the musicians who are moving, but the music can be very emotive, with imagery from nature as part of that.”

Reflecting on the work of Karni and Saul, Katie says: “They often use the ‘magic’ in their description of their animation, and they’re very in tune with how different styles of animation work, from Japanese animation to Disney animation, though I don’t think their work looks like animé or Disney.”

Now 34, Katie was born Ketevan Melua on September 16 1984 to Amiran and Tamara Melua in Kutaisi, Georgia, then part of the Soviet Union. “I’m a bit of a Disney kid, and for me Disney will always have those associations. I remember, when the electricity was working in Georgia, my uncles would rush to their record players to put on Queen and Led Zeppelin,” she says.

“As we didn’t have Western art in the East, it made it all the more desirable – and we had to deal with electricity power cuts too.”

Katie moved to Britain at the age of eight, first to Northern Ireland and then to London in 1999. She made her chart debut at the age of 19 in 2003 with The Closest Thing To Crazy, and has since notched up top ten albums with the chart-topping Call Off The Search, Piece By Piece, Pictures, The House, Secret Symphony, Ketevan and In Winter, culminating in this autumn’s 33-track Ultimate Collection.

Joining 30 songs from her past albums are Katie’s BBC Children In Need 2917 single, a cover of Sting’s Fields Of Gold, plus two new recordings: Katie’s interpretations of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, with the Gori Women’s Choir and Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra, and a solo acoustic rendition of James Bond theme song, Diamonds Are Forever, recorded on vintage gear at producer T Bone’s home studio in Los Angeles.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of those that I’ve had the great pleasure of working with, even the ones I don’t see very often. You have coloured and filled these recordings with brilliance,” she says. “May our work together last for many years in the hearts of anyone needing to hear a classic song.”

Katie Melua with The Gori Women’s Choir, York Barbican December 12; doors open at 7pm. The support act will be emerging Irish-Jordanian singer Keeva. Ticket update: very few still available on 0844 854 2757 or at yorkbarbican.co.uk