Martin Carthy * John Kirkpatrick * Melrose Quartet

Jon Boden * Sisters Unlimited * Sandra Kerr * Fay Hield

Paul & Liz Davenport * Julia Bishop * Rosie Davis & Janet Russell

Tegwen Roberts * Hamish Mathison * James Fagan

Peta Webb * Peter Taylor * Nancy Kerr


Martin Carthy MBE

For four decades, Martin Carthy’s work has immeasurably enriched the British folk heritage. He is regarded as one of the finest singers and interpreters of traditional music of the British Isles, as well as a highly influential and much-imitated guitarist. Awarded the MBE for services to English folk music in 1998, his drive and enthusiasm are undiminished and he continues to be one of folk music’s great innovators.

John Kirkpatrick

A deep love of music was instilled in John from birth, and family gatherings always included a hearty sing-song. School choirs, the Church choir, playing recorder and piano ensued, until he joined the Hammersmith Morris Men, in their second week, in 1959.Whilst with the team he took up the melodeon, then the button accordion, then the anglo concertina, and got hooked on the traditional songs that were accompanied with a post-dancing pint. John has gone on to become one of the most prolific figures on the English folk scene, performing solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands, and has established an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso and session musician, as well as a leading interpreter of English folk music.

Sisters Unlimited

Sisters Unlimited are Sandra Kerr, Janet Russell, Rosie Davis and Peta Webb, who got together in 1986 at a concert for International Women’s Day to sing songs celebrating women’s lives and exploring their concerns and to sing songs on issues of political relevance to all of us. All four Sisters Unlimited are well-established solo singers & musicians plus Rosie is a great dancer. Together they have performed with the “wit and wisdom of womankind” for over 25 years.

Paul and Liz Davenport

Although involved in the folk scene since the 1960s, Paul and Liz both have singing connections from long before their involvement in the folk revival. Song has been a large part of their growing up in their hometown of Hull in East Yorkshire. Encouraged to sing from an early age by parents and grandparents Paul was an early fan of traditional song. His paternal grandmother came from the Kilvington family who were renowned as singers in the isolated village of Settrington near Malton. Liz’s mother was a member of the ubiquitous Smith family of travellers originating in the South East of England. Paul and Liz have released three albums of traditional and self-penned material.

The Melrose Quartet

This fresh new Sheffield-based band brings together two established duos: Nancy Kerr and James Fagan are winners of the 2011 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo – as well as being great exponents of their instruments both are regarded as fine and influential singers and tutor on the Folk Degree course at Newcastle University. Jess and Richard Arrowsmith have established themselves as stalwarts of the traditional music scene, turning their hands to concert performances (with band Crucible and as a duo), playing for dance and lately playing for children, following the release of hit kid’s album Off We Go!” in 2010. The quartet has recorded a live EP and a studio album is due for release in Spring 2013.

Peter Taylor

Baritone soloist Peter Taylor trained at Birmingham Conservertoire graduating with a Post-graduate Diploma in Vocal and Operatic Studies. He has performed as a soloist in oratorio across the UK in venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall. With over nine years’ teaching experience Peter has developed a speciality in musical theatre training and still regularly works training classical vocalists; he is singing teacher at Birkdale School and the Milsom School of Music in Sheffield. Peter specialises in promoting an understanding of how the voice works.

Tegwen Roberts

Tegwen is a South Yorkshire songstress, with a voice described invariably as ‘both beautifully powerful and gently haunting’. Her songs are a mixture of lyrical catharsis and life-inspired story telling. She was voted best Singer Songwriter at the Sound Aloud Sheffield Music Awards in 2005, and plays an active part in the Sheffield acoustic and folk music scenes.She is also known for her numerous musical collaborations, including work with Neil McSweeney, Richard Masters, the Chillage, and the beautiful Blissful Virtuous. And (as if she wasn’t already busy enough!) in her spare time she plays with Sheffield’s favourite mentalists Poke, and Valkyrie Acappella group ‘The Fates’.

Fay Hield

A singer who seems to have been born knowing how to carry a tune but with the rarer gift of knowing how to go straight to the heart of a song. The debut solo album, Looking Glass, was released in September 2010 and a follow up, Orfeo, released this year by prestigious folk label, Topic Records. These have earned Fay many accolades as well as a nomination for the Horizon Award at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Fay is also an academic, lecturing in Ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield. Her PhD thesis ‘English Folk Singing and the Construction of Community’ was completed in 2010 and she is currently consultant for the ‘Music Communities’ research project at the University of Manchester.

Jon Boden

Bellowhead front man and local beer drinker proclaims his views on the folk tradition and shows you how to go about doing it for yourself.

Julia Bishop

Editor of the recent and rather marvellous New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Dr Bishop comes to talk about folk song structures and elements of variation and difference. On the staff of both Sheffield and Aberdeen universities Julia is one of the most highly regarded academics working in folk song scholarship. She’s also a regular organ player for rival carollers but we don’t talk about that too loudly in The Royal ;o)

Hamish Mathison

18th century literature specialist from the University of Sheffield Dr Hamish Mathison comes to talk about his research on Robbie Burns.

Alastair Vannan

An archaeologist and historical researcher by profession, Alastair is also a performer of folk songs from the British

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Isles and Ireland. He combines these passions by undertaking private research into the historical context of folksong and is particularly interested in the different ideas that people have sought to communicate through song and how these ideas can be illuminated by considering songs within their varying historical contexts. His research into the ballads relating to the death of Queen Jane forms the subject of an article published in the 2012 edition of the Folk Music Journal entitled ‘The Death of Queen Jane: Ballad, history, and Propaganda’, which he also presents as a lecture.