Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening

Kathryn Tickell and her band the Darkening standing in a dry grassy field

Saturday In The Barn – Soul & Tell – 10:00 – 11:15
Saturday Grierson Stage – Sonic Cluster Jam! – 4:45 – 6:00
Sunday at the Crossroads – Introduction to Northumbrian Smallpipes and Folk Tunes
 – (Kathryn & Amy) – 2:30 – 3:20

Sunday Concert Bowl Stage – 5:00 – 6:00

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. 

Kathryn’s extraordinary career began with learning tunes from old shepherd friends and family, and evolved to traverse genres from jazz and global music to large-scale orchestral works. Exploring and cultivating her bountiful native heritage of Northumberland have been a constant throughout.

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.

Kathryn’s music makes a profound connection with audiences. She was the first folk artist to appear at the BBC Proms, as a commissioned composer, curator and performer. Her acclaimed music-theatre show Northumbrian Voices was described by writer David Almond as “beautiful and important work”. Richard Morrison of The Times wrote: “I can’t remember feeling so exhilarated by such a match of music and landscape.” The show toured to over 50 venues including the Purcell Rooms London, Celtic Connections Glasgow and Førde Festival Norway. Her classical-folk quartet The Side, “an elegant, beautifully-played fusion” (The Guardian), also toured extensively in the UK and Europe, including rapturously received performances at Berliner Philharmoniker, Tønder Festival Denmark and Union Chapel London.

Kathryn currently tours with her band The Darkening, named after the Northumbrian word for twilight. Kathryn has gathered stellar musicians from Northumberland, Scotland and England to invoke the sounds of Ancient Northumbria. The Darkening’s debut album received praise: “A clever, shape-shifter of a record, founded on an exceptional band.” (The Observer). “A crucial and exhilarating band setting the world on fire.” (fRoots). An eagerly-awaited second album is released on September 1, 2023.

Kathryn has been awarded the OBE, and also 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. She is also a regular presenter for BBC Radio 3’s ‘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.

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