Tag Archives: Eliza Carthy

Artist Profiles: Eliza Carthy

Eliza Carthy

Eliza Carthy is one of the leading artists in the UK’s folk music movement. She has absorbed a rich tapestry of traditional sounds and reinvented them in her own unique way – a melting pot of old and new, captivating lyrics, entrancing vocal melodies, sublime fiddle playing and heartfelt arrangements.

Born August 23 of 1975 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Eliza has been widely acknowledged as one of the most creative, and original, young talents in English music today. She built on her vast reputation as a singing and fiddle sensation and emerged with Angels & Cigarettes – a modern sounding collection of personal, passionate and intensely affecting songs.

The Rat Catchers project unites her with two more of English music’s most celebrated young pioneers, John Spiers (melodeon) and Jon Boden (fiddle, double bass) of Bellowhead, with long-time partner Ben Ivitsky (viola, guitar) completing the line-up.

In 2016, Eliza Carthy put together a dream group of musicians called The Wayward Band with members of Bellowhead, Blowzabella, Mawkin, Emily Portman Trio, Tyde and other. They recorded an album titled Big Machine.



* Heat Light & Sound (Topic Records, 1996)
* Eliza Carthy & The Kings of Calicutt (Topic Records, 1997)
* Red Rice (originally sold as a 2 CD set. Now available as 2 separate CDs: Red and Rice, 1998)
* Angels & Cigarettes (Warner Bros UK, 2000)
* Anglicana (Topic Records, 2002)
* The Definitive Collection (compilation 2003)
* Rough Music (Topic Records, 2004)
* Dreams of Breathing Underwater (Topic Records, 2008)
* Big Machine (Topic, 2017)

with the Waterson family

* Waterson:Carthy: Waterson:Carthy (1994)
* Waterson:Carthy: Common Tongue (1996)
* Waterson:Carthy: Broken Ground (1999)
* Blue Murder: No One Stands Alone (2002)
* Various Artists: Shining Bright – The Songs of Lal & Mike Waterson (2002)
* Waterson:Carthy: A Dark Light (2002)
* The Watersons: The Definitive Collection (compilation 2003)
* The Watersons: Mighty River of Song (4 CD & 1 DVD compilation 2004)
* Waterson:Carthy: Fishes and Fine Yellow Sand (2004)
* Waterson: Carthy: The Definitive Collection (compilation 2005)
* Waterson:Carthy: Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man (2006)

with Norma Waterson

* Gift (Topic Records, 2010)

with Nancy Kerr

* Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr (1993)
* Shape of Scrape (1995)
* On Reflection (compilation Gadfly, 2002)


Beautifully Crafted Songs of Separation

Various Artists – Songs of Separation

Various Artists – Songs of Separation (Navigator Records, 2016)

Songs of Separation is a fascinating project featuring 10 of the leading female folk musicians from Scotland and England. In September of 2014, Scottish residents were given the option of regaining independence from the UK. Although the no vote won, 44.7% of Scots voted in favor of independence. Set in this post-referendum context, these talented artists have recorded a set of original and traditional songs that revolve around the subject of separation.

Songs of Separation was recorded in the fabulous setting of the Isle of Eigg (in the Scottish Inner Hebrides). The process of cultivating the music was revealed to audiences each day, through a series of videos. The songs highlight the connections and differentiation in the musical traditions, language and cultural heritage of England and Scotland.

The impressive “dream team” of musicians includes Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart, two of the UK’s most celebrated vocalists; Mary Macmaster and Kate Young, two groundbreaking Scottish singers and instrumentalists; Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans, from the award winning English ensemble Lady Maisery; Jenn Butterworth and Jenny Hill, gifted musicians who have worked in both English and Scottish traditional music; and Hannah Read, a New York-based musician who spent much of her infancy on the Isle of Eigg.

Highlights include the memorable opening track “Echo Mocks the Corncrake”, “Poor Man’s Lamentation” , “’S muladach mi ‘s mi air m’aineoil (Sad Am I and in a Strange Place)”, “Sea King”, and the delightful Celtic beat of “Over the Border: The Withering / Flowers of the Forest / Blue Bonnets Over the Border / Hope Lies Over the Border.”

The lineup on the album includes Hazel Askew on lead and backing vocals, flute, harp, melodeon; Jenn Butterworth on vocals, guitar; Eliza Carthy on lead vocals and backing vocals, fiddle, Indian harmonium, percussion; Hannah James on lead and backing vocals, percussion, piano accordion; Jenny Hill, double bass, backing vocals; Mary Macmaster lead and backing vocals, clarsach (Celtic harp), wire harp; Karine Polwart on lead and backing vocals, Indian harmonium, percussion, tenor guitar; Hannah Read on lead and backing vocals, fiddle, guitar; Rowan Rheingans on lead and backing vocals, banjo, fiddle, percussion, viola; Kate Young on lead and backing vocals, fiddle.

Songs of Separation showcases a wonderful set of exceptionally expressive vocals from Scotland and England enhanced by beautifully crafted arrangements.

Buy Songs of Separation in North America and rest of the world

Buy Songs of Separation in Europe


Daring English Folk

Various Artists – The Imagined Village

Various Artists – The Imagined Village (Real World Records, 2008)

Lining up the likes of Simon Emmerson, Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Benjamin Zephaniah, Chris Wood, Paul Weller, Sheila Chandra, The Gloworms, Tiger Moth, TransGlobal Underground, Tunng, Johnny Kalsi and The Copper Family seems like a mere fantasy, but that is exactly what The Imagined Village is all about. Daring to re-imagine, break down and remake English folk music, The Imagined Village careens headlong and hell bent on dragging traditional tunes through the modern streets of England, picking up the current flavors and textures of today’s English musicians. Now if you are a folk purist, this might not be the CD for you, but if you’re willing to jump on the genre bending, rip-roaring ride through the modern soundscape of English folk, then be prepared The Imagined Village will knock your socks off.

The Imagined Village is proof that good things happen when great musicians are left to their own devices. Opening with “John Barleycorn,” The Imagined Village band sets this traditional English tune ablaze with Martin Carthy on acoustic guitar, Paul Weller on electric guitar, Eliza Carthy on fiddle, Nigel Eaton on hurdy gurdy, and Simon Emmerson on cittern. Dipping into the exoticism of Rastafarian writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah and the extravagant richness of Trans-Global Underground, the dub retelling of “Tam Lyn” is darkly exhilarating with guitars, bouzouki, sitar and some sizzling programming. The edgy “Death and the Maiden” with Tunng and the thrilling “Cold Haily Rainy Night” with Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, The Young Coppers and TransGlobal Underground do more than bend these tunes – they turn them inside out!

The CD just gets better with “The Welcome Sailor,” with the lovely vocals of Sheila Chandra and “Acres of Ground,” with its folksy swing punctuated by tabla and dhol drum by Johnny Kalsi. “Hard Times of Old England” with Billy Bragg, The Young Coppers, Eliza Carthy and Simon Emmerson and “Kit Whites I & II” with The Gloworms are infectiously wonderful. The bright and sassy “Slow on the Uptake” is a hair raising roundhouse slap of pure delight with Tiger Moth. “’Ouses, ‘Ouses, ‘Ouses” with vocals by John Copper and Sheila Chandra against a sea of guitar, cello, violin, bass, Northumbrian pipes, nickel harp, drones and keyboards is a precious piece of storytelling wrapped in a compelling composition that brings the past into the futures.

I have to admit that I’m partial to these “what if” collaborations with musicians scattered across the musical map. Songs on these type of collaborations tend to be fully realized and fully executed, some tracks stretching longer than the average MBA record exec would allow. There is also the collaborative spirit that seems to shine through on these types of recording, so that the listener can actually feel the expansive joy come through in the musicianship. The Imagined Village certainly possesses that heady mix of stellar musicianship and free flowing fusion of ideas and genres. The Imagined Village isn’t just about retelling or remaking English folk – it’s about glorious reinvention.

Buy the CD:


Folk Britannia: Daughters of Albion

June Tabor


London, UK – Folk Britannia continues with Daughters of Albion,
featuring June Tabor, Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy, Kathryn Williams, Sheila Chandra & Lou Rhodes. Folk Britannia is a festival focusing on the rich and compelling history of traditional music of the UK. The concert will be held February3, 2006 at 19:30
at Barbican Hall.

Daughters of Albion brings together some of England’s finest female folk artists and contemporary singer-songwriters.
Connected by a strong sense of place, a certain wit and singularity of voice, these ’Daughters of Albion’ sing songs of experience, shot through with a deliciously dark seam of melancholy.

The evening features an imaginative set-list that puts ancient English folk ballads alongside West Country trip-hop, 21st century R&B and songs from beloved singer/songwriters, including Sandy Denny, Lal Waterson, Kirsty MacColl, Anne Briggs, Vashti Bunyan and Kate Bush.

MD + arrangements by Kate St John

Produced by the Barbican in association with Free Will Productions and BBC Four

First commissioned by Cork 2005.