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Debateable Lands

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Album Review

Kathryn Tickell's albums are always a treat — she's one of the few players of the Northumbrian small pipes (which are driven by a bellows, rather than a bladder), and certainly is one of the very few to see the inside of a recording studio. Her repertoire consists of a mixture of originals, covers, and arrangements of various Northumbrian and North England folk tunes, with the overall tone skewing towards that which is nowadays thought of as Celtic (i.e., listeners will be able to pick out elements that come from Scotland, England, Ireland, and various islands, Hebridean and otherwise). The ultimate truth, of course, is that Tickell is working within a musical framework that has been cross-pollinated for centuries. Her original work, incidentally, is superb; "Our Kate," written for the late Catherine Cookson (and presented here in two versions) is a gorgeous, moving piece. A fine set indeed, head and shoulders above many such folk releases.


Born: June 8, 1967 in Wark, North Tyne Valley, Northumb

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Not too many people could make an instrument as localized as the Northumbrian small pipes sexy, but that's exactly what Kathryn Tickell (who's also an accomplished fiddler) has managed. Along the way, in addition to many records under her own name, she's recorded with Sting and the Chieftains, and elevated her instrument to the international stage. Born in 1970 in Northumberland, her family was immersed in local traditional music and it was only natural that she'd become a part of it, taking up the...
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Debateable Lands, Kathryn Tickell
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