Award-winning Northumbrian roots musician Kathryn Tickell is to release her second album with The Darkening.
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, programming, plus Stef Conner from Cambridge (vocals, lyres, sistrum) and Josie Duncan from the Isle of Lewis (vocals, clarsach). Together these dazzling musicians create musical magic; dynamic and unique “Ancient Northumbrian Futurism“
Kathryn 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, creating material that is contemporary and exciting. She is a regular presenter for BBC Radio 3’s Music Planet. From a seed of an idea, Kathryn’s ‘Folk Tunes From The Women’ was published earlier this year by Faber Music; a collection of tunes by 100 contemporary female composers from Britain and Ireland, curated by Kathryn.
Her latest album cloud horizons*, is the follow-up to Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening’s acclaimed 2019 debut Hollowbone, about which The Observer declared in its glowing review: “A clever, shape-shifter of a record….founded on an exceptional band.”
It is an album of extremes – Northumbrian traditions meet global influences. Dark, edgy soundscapes flare into euphoria with the razor-sharp precision of the pipes and accordion, bombastic effects-drenched octave-mandolin, haunting harmony vocals, skillfully programmed beats, evocative slow airs and wild, heart-pounding dance tunes. Lyres, clàrsach, sistrum, bone-flute and traditional Galician percussion add potency to the compelling ambience.
Kathryn has been awarded the OBE, recognising her extraordinary career, and the Queen’s Medal for Music for her outstanding contribution to British music; the first non-classical recipient of this award. She has won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Musician of the Year.
Amongst her extensive work on her home ground, Kathryn set up a new community interest company Magnetic North-East in 2016, to celebrate and promote the distinctive cultural identity of the North-East of England. She is also founder of The Young Musicians Fund at the Community Foundation, which has raised over £100,000 for young people in the area. She initiated and was Artistic Director for the Festival of the North-East.
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 by Amen-inspired breakbeats, ominous vocals and the wildest of piping…
“The Darkening are a modern tradition and a newly born ancestor, pointing bravely forward into the past, impelling us to listen and compelling us to dance….”
The first single “Long For Light” is out now and immediately available with album pre-orders. The inimitable sound of Kathryn’s piping opens this enigmatic trip-hop influenced song. An ancient Northumbrian language is reimagined.
Watch the official video here:
In a storied career spanning over 30 years, cloud horizons is Kathryn’s 16th release and her first album of completely new material….yet the sense of rootedness within the music has never been stronger. To celebrate its release , Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening will play shows and festivals from August to October with dates as follows:
Tour Dates as Follows:
Fri 4 August Sidmouth Folk Festival
Sat 5 August Wickham Festival
Sat 19 August FolkEast
Fri 1 Sept Lindisfarne Festival
Sat 2 Sept Civic Theatre, Gosforth
Thurs 7 Sept Victoria Hall, Settle
Fri 8 Sept Theatre, Chipping Norton
Sat 9 Sept Swanage Folk Festival
Sun 10 Sept Dartington Arts, Devon
Mon 11 Sept St Ives September Festival
Tues 12 Sept South Street, Reading
Mon 16 Oct Apex, Bury St Edmunds
Tues 17 Oct The Stables, Wavendon
Wed 18 Oct University of York
Mon 23 Oct Gala Theatre, Durham
Tues 24 Oct Waterside Arts, Manchester
Wed 25 Oct St George’s, Bristol
Thurs 26 Oct Cecil Sharp House, London
Fri 27 Oct Ludlow Assembly Rooms
For further information and ticket links please visit::
*cloud horizons is released on September 1 via Resilient Records. The new record will be available on CD and digital download. Pre-orders: