Hazel Askew is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and Teacher from London, creating music inspired by the folk traditions of England and beyond.

Hazel Askew

Hazel Askew is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer from London, creating 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 often draw on timeless themes such as life & death, power, gender and politics.

Over the last decade Hazel has become a seasoned performer on the folk scene, creating new interpretations and striking arrangements of traditional music in every project she works on. She 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 2011. She also plays a variety of instruments, but is best known for her rhythmic melodeon playing and her lyrical song accompaniments on the harp.

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.

Hazel regularly performs in a longstanding duo with her sister Emily as The Askew Sisters, playing traditional English music and songs on fiddle, melodeon and concertina. Together, they have have released three critically acclaimed albums, the most recent of which In the Air or the Earth won Best Traditional Album at the Spiral Earth Awards 2015.

She is also a third of popular vocal harmony trio Lady Maisery, who were nominated for the Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012. They regularly tour the UK and have been featured on shows such as BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and Radio 3's In Tune. Their live set at Latitude Festival was also broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction.

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.

As well as performing on the folk scene, Hazel has also sung and played with Early Music groups such Joglaresa, The Dufay Collective 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.

Now based back in London, Hazel spends her time touring on the folk and early music scenes, composing new music and leading workshops.

Songs that move you through striking dark and light tales, drawing your attention with their melodies and holding it with their narrative."