Time for a new update I think as there is lots of news and upcoming events!
Firstly we were delighted to find out that Songs of Separation has been nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards! Best Album and Best Traditional Track for Karine's version of Corncrake! It's been wonderful new as it's been such an inspiring project to be part of and the result of a lot of hard work. Best Album is decided by public vote which ends on 17th Feb, if you have a few moments please vote, there are lots of great albums nominated:
I had a great time at the end of 2017 launching Lady Maisery's new album Cycle, we were overwhelmed with the reception it received. We've had a few gigs so far this spring, including a small tour of Germany and the Netherlands at the start of February which we loved, and we'll be getting on the road properly on May for a full tour, full info here soon:
Meanwhile, here's a video we had made of our version of my song Order & Chaos.
The song is a reflection on life and death partly informed by physics, and I've been touched by the response it's been having at gigs. I wrote an article about the ideas behind the song for Folk Radio UK which you can see here:
In March Lady Maisery will be joined by O'Hooley & Tidow and Grace Petrie for our annual International Women's Day Tour! We have had such a great time together on the previous two tours so I'm really looking forward to touring the show again. Exciting, we all got together in January to record a little EP of our collaborative songs! We're very excited about it and it'll only be available at gigs so do come along to see the show. This time we're on the road for 12 days, full dates on Lady Maisery's website above.
In March and April I will be touring with The Askew Sisters again. We're also going to be part of a few special gigs to celebrate the release of The Wanton Seed - a re-release of one of the songbooks celebrating collections from Hampshire and Dorset. We'll be playing at Cecil Sharp House on 16th Feb and in Whitchurch on the 18th. Our full tour dates can be found here:
On the 22nd of March I'll be playing with the Estuary Songwriting Project at a one off gig in Cecil Sharp House. The project began in September 2016 with a songwriting residency in Leigh on Sea and was a wonderful experience, so am really looking forward to taking the new songs to Cecil Sharp House. For tickets and more info see:
It's been a little while since my last update, but it's been a busy year with lots of exciting new things happening!
Lady Maisery have just released their new album 'Cycle'! It's a celebration of life's journeys, the seasons and ever turning cycles. It comes after a busy summer of festivals and performances (including Cambridge, Sidmouth, Larmer Tree, Shrewsbury), and we have just started our launch tour (full dates here on our website: www.ladymaisery.com)
We've been delighted with the reviews and reception it has got, especially this **** write up in The Guardian!:
We have also just released a video of one of the tracks 'Bagpiper's/Sheila's 70', a set of tunes which we diddle!
It's also been wonderful to perform with the Songs of Separation project again recently, after two small tours in Jan and May. We had a great time at Cambridge Folk Festival and recently it was great to bring the show to London at Kings Place. We also just received the wonderful news that the album has been nominated for Best Album at the Scots Trad Awards! The televised ceremony will be on Dec 3rd and we'll be playing a couple of songs there, and the winner is decided partially by public vote, so you can vote here if you wish!
In September I was invited to be part of a songwriting residency with 7 other songwriters called The Estuary Songwriting Project. Myself and Lucy Farrell, Alasdair Roberts, M G Boulter, Nick Pynn, Roshi Nasehi, Kater Waterfield and Piers Haslam spent a week at Chalkwell House, writing and arranging songs inspired by the Estuary environment. It was a fantastic week and great to have some dedicated time for writing and inspirational trips, such as a visit to Two Tree island and a talk by environmental expert Marc Outten.
We had a great first gig at the end of Southend Pier and we'll be playing at Cecil Sharp House and Leigh on Sea Festival next year, watch this space!
In other news, I have just started running a new Folk Choir and a solo singing class for Morley College in London. It's been a delight to begin these classes and lovely to work for Morley College especially as I grew up very nearby and they've been promoting tuition in the arts, culture and applied sciences for 125 years!
A belated Happy New Year! I thought it was about time for an update on 2016 so far, and what's next in the pipeline!
The year began with a weekend of Askew Sisters gigs, which included our first ever outing as an two woman official ceilidh band at Oxfolk Ceilidhs. We were very lucky to be joined by Ben Moss calling and the evening was much fun! It was also a great chance to dig out lots of fab tunes we'd forgotten about. We're also beginning to think about our next album, so you might see a few new songs creeping into our gigs, watch this space...
A few days ago I got back from a mini tour with the Songs of Separation project, which was a bit of a whirlwind! It was very special to play those songs live and we were so warmly welcomed at all the gigs, which were all sold out! The album officially came out a few days ago and we've been chuffed by the reviews we've received. Here are a couple of them, as well as my song 'London Lights' which was released online for Christmas! We'll also be doing a few more gigs and festivals later on in the year, can't wait!
On the 2nd February, I'll be spending the day at the beautiful Middle Temple Hall with Shakespearean experts Ben and David Crystal, making music for an evening exploring the original pronunciation of Shakespearean language. The event is being hosted by the British Council and they are streaming it live online, so it will be possible to watch it from anywhere in the world! The evening will be focusing on excerpts from Twelfth Night with music from The Askew Sisters' 'In the Air or the Earth' album, a title actually taken from Shakespeare. It's also a special day as it will be exactly 414 years since Shakespeare staged Twelfth Night in that very same hall, the only venue we know Shakespeare actually played in that still stands.
Later on in February, I'll be off to Kansas City with Lady Maisery, where we've been invited to showcase at Folk Alliance International!
We're visiting with the EFDSS along with a few other artists, and we'll hopefully be able to make more international links and see what new things it may lead too! After that we'll be heading to Wales to record the last few tracks for our new album, keep and eye out!
At the beginning of March, Lady Maisery will once again be taking to the road with the incredible O'Hooley & Tidow and Grace Petrie to celebrate International Women's Day. We joined together for three gigs last year, and had such a blast that this year we're doing ten! We've become known collectively as 'The Coven' and I can't wait to get back on the road with these ladies again! It was a very special gig last year, most the way through I was either laughing or crying at everyone's songs, incredible music!
On the teaching front, my Saturday Workshops on melodeon and song have started again at Cecil Sharp House. They're a lovely bunch and we've been having much fun. On Saturday 19th March I'll also be tutoring at the Melodeons & More Day nr Stowmarket along with a fab team of tutors.
I've had a fab time playing at festivals with The Askew Sisters and Lady Maisery as well as teaching for the English Folk Dance and Song Society's Youth Summer School.
As the first leaves start to fall from the trees I find myself looking ahead to Autumn and all the things coming up.
I'll be touring with The Askew Sisters over the next couple of weeks, including our 10th anniversary gig at the wonderful Foundling Museum on 11th September. We'll be having a few guests along to play with us so it should be a fun evening and it's also a fascinating museum to wander round. More information of all our tour dates on our website here:
Straight after that I'll be on the road with Lady Maisery on a tour that takes us round the UK and to France and Portugal! We'll be previewing some more of our new material and also running a few singing workshops along the way, check out our gig list here for more info:
We've also been listening to the first mixes of the Songs of Separation album, a collaborative project I was lucky enough to be part of with 9 of the UK's top female folk musicians. It's very exciting to listen back and remember our week on the Isle of Eigg and you can hear a rough snippet of my track London Lights below. It's a beautiful song that dates back to the music halls via traditional Scottish singer Lizzie Higgins:
I had a wonderful time a few weeks back as part of the Songs of Separation project on the Isle of Eigg. I spent a week with 9 incredible female folk musicians from England and Scotland exploring the theme of separation through traditional and contemporary folk songs. It was a very inspiring week, full of creativity, exploration and fun, and we managed to record a whole album in 3 days! It's likely to be released either at the end of this year or the the start of 2016, but here's a little taster of us singing on site at the beautiful cathedral cave on the Island:
Since then, I've been working on songs with Ben Crystal's company of actors, who are performing at the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Glove this week and next, exploring original pronunciation of Shakespeare. Their performance of Henry V will be on Sunday 26th July, and will be sure to have a few songs in it! More information here:
I've just come back from the lovely Furness Tradition Festival in Cumbria, where I was playing with The Askew Sisters. I'll be visiting quite a few festivals with the duo as well as Lady Maisery, so check the gig lists for the latest dates.