azel Askew is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer from London, creating powerful music inspired by the folk traditions of England and beyond. She is fascinated by the enduring sounds and stories of this music, and how they draw on timeless themes such as life & death, power, gender and politics.
Over the last fifteen years Hazel has become renowned as a skilled and engaging performer on the folk scene, creating new interpretations and striking arrangements of traditional and original music in every project she works on. She is best known for performing within a longstanding duo with her sister Emily as The Askew Sisters and as a third of Lady Maisery. She has been three times nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, winning Best Album as part of Songs of Separation in 2017.
Hazel loves bringing songs from old manuscripts and recordings to life, and her engaging delivery of traditional songs along with her "shimmering vocals" (The Sunday Times), won her Best Female Singer at the Spiral Earth Awards. In recent years she has also begun to make her mark as a songwriter. In particular, her moving song Order & Chaos has caused quite a stir for its beauty and originality, celebrating life and death from a scientific perspective.
Hazel is just a much a musician as a singer, and has become known as a talented instrumentalist, most notably for her rhythmic and innovative melodeon playing and her lyrical song accompaniments on the harp. She regularly tours with her different projects, playing at venues and festivals across the UK and beyond. She frequently plays live on national radio, including shows such as BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 3’s World on 3, Late Junction and In Tune, as well as BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show.
As well as performing on the folk scene, Hazel has also sung and played medieval harp with Early Music groups such Joglaresa, The Dufay Collective, Ensemble Trouvere and The Artisans, with whom she has played at Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and live on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show and Essential Classics.
Hazel's love of music and narrative has also led her to work as a composer for film, theatre and dance. She has written music for productions by companies including the Ben Crystal Company at Shakespeare's Globe, Darren Ellis Dance, More Films, The Hampstead Players and Shakespeare in Styria
Hazel is the child of two morris dancers and grew up in central London, so was immersed in both the history and culture of a vibrant city, as well as the traditions and tales of English folk music. She started making her name performing on the folk scene as a teenager and eventually followed her love of stories to Newcastle University, gaining a first class degree in English Literature with Music, as well as winning the Harry Clews Prize for her folk singing recital.
“Songs that move you through striking dark and light
tales, drawing your attention with their melodies and holding it with their