What better way to kick off the Ironbath’s virtual folk festival than with the current king and queen of English Folk.
Seth Lakeman started out in a young folk band called Equation with his brothers Sam & Sean and Kathryn Roberts and Kate Rusby (more about Kate in a moment!). He left Equation in 2001 and it was his second solo album in 2004, ‘Kitty Jay’ that propelled Seth to folk super-stardom.
The Lakeman’s are from the rugged moorland landscape of Dartmoor in Devon in south-west England. Seth recorded his breakthrough album in his parent’s kitchen and it includes lots of references to the Moor and local folklore. Seth’s fiddle playing has an urgency that requires the listeners attention and it redefined English Folk music. The album was nominated for the Mercury Music prize.
The Ironbath filmed Seth at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2010 where about 7,000 folkies go crazy for a man and his fiddle. The roar of the crowd’s clapping and stomping was deafening.
This second video ‘The Lady Of The Sea’ was shot with considerably greater skill live at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. The Minack is the most incredible open air theatre perched precariously on the cliffs about the sea. It is one of the greatest hidden gems on the English tourist map. The Ironbath cannot think of a more appropriate location for this song.
If Seth is King then Kate Rusby is rightfully the Queen of English Folk.
Kate is proudly from Barnsley, Yorkshire, with her parents both folk musicians that meant her childhood was spent around folk festivals the length and breath of the country. She has a voice of cut glass purity and has adopted traditional English Folk music as her own.
Her first album was with The Poozies, an all female folk band, before moving on briefly to Equation. Her first solo album, ‘Hourglass’ was released in 1998 which has been followed by another 8 and her second album of Christmas songs is due later this year.
Kate has quite literally turned her music into a cottage industry. Her father, Steve, runs her record label from her cottage, her mother,Ann, is the accountant, her sister, Emma, deals with publicity and her brother, Joe, is her sound engineer. As Kate says “I go out and sing the songs.”
This video is the first segment of 5 taken from a very interesting documentary that profiles her music and shows the life of a folk artist. It also features plenty of beautiful shots of the English countryside.
If you haven’t time for all 5 the Ironbath suggests that you do watch the fifth part which ends with the release of ‘Awkward Annie’ at the Cambridge Folk Festival, may be you can spot the Ironbath in the crowd as he was there!