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Few bands would dare to involve the biggest, most respected names of their genre in their latest project, but The Shee, quietly, steadily building a reputation for innovative arrangements and immaculate live performances, have undoubtedly earned the respect of their peers. The Shee’s latest project is no run of the mill, sequential album, either, but a thoughtful, considered celebration of their first decade together.
Continuum was conceived by the band with Celtic Connections, one of the most influential and important festivals in contemporary British folk music. The project has given each member of The Shee license to dream: to commission a British folk musician hero to write an original piece specifically with the band in mind. The musicians duly chosen were: Andy Cutting, Brian Finnegan, Karine Polwart, Martin Simpson, Kathryn Tickell and Chris Wood, and the pieces given their world premiere at Celtic Connections 2016.
Amy Thatcher (Accordion, Clogs)
Laura-Beth Salter (Mandolin, Vocals)
Lillias Kinsman-Blake (Flute, Whistles)
Olivia Ross (Fiddle, Viola, Vocals)
Rachel Newton (Electroharp, Vocals)
Shona Mooney (Fiddle)
Lillias is a touring musician and workshop leader from the Scottish Borders. She is a founder member The Shee and has gained a reputation as a versatile musician performing both within the traditional music scene and for theatre, storytelling and classically inspired projects including Blair Douglas’ Gaelic Mass: ‘An Aifreann Ghàidhlig le Blàr Dùghlas’ and Alistair Anderson’s ‘Steel Skies’.
Lillias received a CATS award for ‘best use of music and sound in a Scottish theatre production’ and is an experienced tutor, lecturing regularly for the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Yet, her creative outlet does not lie solely in music, she is also an accomplished graphic designer and artist, creating designs for a range of social and arts organisations including National Museums Scotland. www.lillias.co.uk
Fiddler Shona Mooney is a Scottish Borders lass brought up in Lauder which lies close to the Lammermuir Hills. She sources traditional tunes from the Border region while her own compositions derive inspiration from a winningly magpie-minded range of subjects, both human and pastoral.
Shona was a recipient of the 2006 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and more recently her beautifully haunting and evocative composition Tidal Island, supported by Creative Scotland, was recorded for BBC Radio Scotland’s Global Gathering. www.shonamooneymusic.com
Rachel is a founder member of The Shee, The Emily Portman Trio and The Furrow Collective and also writes and performs her own solo material, releasing albums The Shadow Side in 2012 and Changeling in 2014.
Rachel recently started working with Scottish/Norwegian band Boreas, was one of the eight musicians to collaborate in The Elizabethan Session. As well as voice and harp, Rachel also plays fiddle and viola and works across a range of performance platforms including theatre and storytelling.
“This is the sound of modern Scotland, as surely as draws on folklore and tradition, Newton’s singing and harp at the heart of a singular vision.” The Herald
“Rachel Newton is well equipped to take centre stage in her own right and this second solo albumis a beauty…fascinating stuff”. (5 * Playlist Selection) – fRoots Magazine
Olivia Ross is a singer, fiddle player, song-writer and violin instructor from the Highlands of Scotland. She took up the fiddle when only nine years old and studied both classical and traditional styles making her a hugely versatile musician and teacher.
In 2002 Olivia left Scotland to study on Newcastle University’s Folk and Traditional Music degree, and whilst thee discovered her love and talent for the Scots Ballad tradition, a style which Olivia has now made her own.
Best known as a founder member of The Shee, Olivia has also performed with Scottish super-group The Unusual Suspects, and collaborated with well known folk musicians such as Chris Wood, Kathryn Tickell and Corina Hewatt.
Laura-Beth is a singer, mandolin player and composer from Lincolnshire who is now based in Glasgow. Her background is in the Blues, Oldtime and Bluegrass music that her parents play, but after studying the Traditional Music Degree in Newcastle she became heavily involved in the folk scene, beginning her performing career as a founder member of The Shee.
In recent years Laura-Beth has also guest performed with renowned folk bands such as Shooglenifty, Frigg and Dougie Maclean’s big band ‘The MacLean Project,’ as well as touring in a new duo with acclaimed guitarist and singer Jenn Butterworth.
In 2012, Laura-Beth’s New Voices commission of songs and instrumentals for Celtic Connections earned her a nomination for the MG Alba Scots Trad Award Composer of the Year and this material developed into her debut album ‘Breathe’. www.laurabethsalter.com
Amy Thatcher is a professional accordionist and composer based in the North East of England. Her reputation as one of the UK’s leading folk accordionists is garnered from working with legends such as Kathryn Tickell, Sting and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Amy is a key member of several well known folk acts in the UK including Kathryn Tickell’s The Side, The Shee, and the electronic folk super-group, The Monster Ceilidh Sound System (previously The Monster Ceilidh Band). Her work has taken her across the world from The Royal Albert Hall to the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia.
“Amy is and always has been the most amazing Accordion player, my right hand woman!” Kathryn Tickell
Amy’s musical upbringing owes a lot to Stockport’s famous “Fosbrook’s Folk Education Trust” with whom she trained from the age of eight on accordion, fiddle, piano and clog dancing. During this time Amy was taught by, and recorded with, accordion virtuoso Murray Grainger. That first brilliant album, entitled “Paper Bird”, was recorded when she was just 16 years old.From 18 onwards she continued her musical education in Newcastle on the prestigious Folk and Traditional Music degree course. She is about to release her debut solo album. www.amythatcher.co.uk
Gateshead International Jazz Festival, BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival and Folkworks Pass It On Festival take place on the south bank of the Tyne this Spring alongside Sage Gateshead’s usual programme of eclectic and high quality artists.
Sage Gateshead showcases a strong line-up of folk, roots and blues artists from both sides of the Atlantic.