“One of the most utterly spellbinding aural experiences you’re likely to encounter this year”. Folk London
Marry Waterson - voice
Lisa Knapp - voice, fiddle, autoharp
Nathaniel Mann - voice, bowed banjo, electronics and meat cleaver
Barney Morse Brown – cello with pedals
Laurence Hunt – percussion
Three of the UK’s most innovative and prestigious folk artists present Blackletter Garland, a brand new album and live tour.
Inspired by historic broadside ballads – daily song sheets sold for pence from the 16th to 20th centuries – Marry, Lisa and Nathaniel rejuvenate and reinvent these stories. Fascinating interpretations and original compositions tell intricate tales of birth, love, conflict and death, with all the imagination of the folklore from which they’re based.
Arguably the forerunners of our modern news media, broadsides (also known as a broadsheet) often contained ballads and rhymes, which were sung daily in Britain’s streets and inns. Although part of living traditions of folksong, popular art and literature, these illustrated printed sheets are now rare and preserved in only a few libraries. They offer a vivid insight into the past whilst striking a chord with universal themes still relevant today. Songs about love, loneliness and kindness are interwoven with intriguing, humanist and dark stories.
Delving into the inky archives at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band bringing broadsides vividly to life for a new generation and offering a rare insight into Britain’s history.
Produced by Sound UK. Commissioned by Sound UK and OCM. Funded by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation. Supported by the Bodleian Libraries.
Marry Waterson is part of the fabric of folk history, making her first appearance when she was just 12 years old on the album ‘A True Hearted Girl’ (Topic Records) with her mother Lal, and Aunt Norma Waterson.
Although there are echoes of her mother’s singular voice, Marry is as unique and daring as they come. Often collaborating with different writers, musicians, and producers, she stretches the boundaries of not only folk but songwriting itself, where real life is refracted through myths, legends and proverbs that shape the memory. Marry has toured with Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker, and worked with Hal Willner and Portishead’s Adrian Utley amongst many of her contemporaries. Her cross-over style is equally at home on Radio 6 Music & BBC Radio 2.
Praise for Marry’s five albums include multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations. http://marrywaterson.com/
Folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist: South London’s Lisa Knapp has been much in demand touring the length and breadth of the UK and across Radio and TV since her remarkable debut, Wild & Undaunted (2007), marked her out as one of the brightest and most innovative players in a newly invigorated British folk movement.
Lisa won the much coveted BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Original Track (Two Ravens) on release of her entirely self- penned second album Hidden Seam from which her ’Shipping Song’ caught the attention of BBC Radio 4 who subsequently invited her to present a documentary on the Shipping Forecast and its influence on the arts, called Shipping Songs.
A long held fascination with dark narrative, ritual and folklore lead to Till April Is Dead - A Garland of May in which Lisa wove field recordings: birdsong, ticking clocks, church bells, street sounds and engines via a plethora of acoustic instruments into an array of traditional folk songs to create an exhilarating and immersive trip through the month of May.
Lisa has collaborated with an array of artists such as Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Graham Coxon, Kathryn Williams, Sam Lee, Mara Carlyle, Leafcutter John, Shirley Collins and Bellowhead. https://www.lisaknapp.co.uk/
Nathaniel Mann is an award winning experimental composer, singer and performer. Well known for his work with Dead Rat Orchestra - who are frequently tour support for Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Nathaniel has been featured on recordings by C. Joynes, Nick Jonah Davis, Jim Ghedi, and collaborated live with Sam Lee, Dorian Wood and Eric Chenaux.
Mann has produced soundtracks for BBC Scotland and is presenter of 6 BBC Radio 4/3 “Pick of the Week” feature- length documentaries.
Winner of The Paul Hamlyn Award 2019, Arts Foundation Fellow 2018 and recipient of The George Butterworth Prize for Composition 2016. instagram.com/nathaniel__mann
The band includes other contemporary folk luminaries who defy categorisation:
Barney Morse-Brown - cello w/ pedals: https://www.duotonemusic.com/
Laurence Hunt – percussion: https://laurencehunt.com/home/
A collaboration between three of the UK’s most innovative and prestigious folk artists.