Based in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall yet reaching out to the wider world, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening explore the connecting threads of music, landscape and people over a period of almost 2000 years. Songs range from themes of freedom, nature and venturing out into the world after times of darkness, to a Roman inscription with links to Libya and Syria magnetically pulled into the 21st century with glorious vocal harmonies and the wildest of piping.
Named after the old Northumbrian word for twilight, The Darkening is made up of four North-East England-based members: Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian smallpipes, fiddle, vocals), Amy Thatcher (accordion, synth, clogs, vocals), Kieran Szifris (octave mandolin), Joe Truswell (drums, percussion); with Josie Duncan from the Isle of Lewis (vocals, clarsach). Together these dazzling musicians create musical magic; dynamic and unique “Ancient Northumbrian Futurism”.
About Kathryn Tickell:
Kathryn Tickell is the foremost exponent of the Northumbrian pipes; a composer, performer, educator and successful recording artist with many releases to her name, whose work is deeply rooted in the landscape and people of Northumbria. She has performed across the world, in concert venues, theatres and on television.
From her first album, released at the age of 16, Kathryn has carried the voices of her family and her Northumbrian traditions in her pipe and fiddle playing. Long admired by musicians and collaborators such as Jacob Collier, Sting and The Penguin Café Orchestra, Kathryn works across many genres.
Kathryn has been awarded the OBE for ‘services to folk music’, and the Queen’s Medal for Music for her outstanding contribution to British music, the first non-classical recipient of this award. She has twice won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Musician of the Year. ‘Folk Tunes From The Women’ was published in 2023 by Faber Music – Kathryn’s collection of tunes by 100 contemporary female composers from Britain and Ireland, organised by Hands Up For Trad. She is also a regular presenter for BBC Radio 3’s popular roots music programme ‘Music Planet’.
"No one has evoked the landscape and traditions of Northumbria more affectingly than Kathryn Tickell; a champion of the Northumbrian pipes, she is steeped in the songs and mythology of the north-east." (The Observer).
Praise for the latest album, ‘Cloud Horizons’:
“...wildly thrilling” The Guardian
“…unexpectedly cosmic” MOJO
“…electrifying and incredibly captivating” Folk Radio UK
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