Hollowbone: Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening

https://www.kathryntickell.com/shop/items/albums/hollowbone Hollowbone is the 2015 album from Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening.

My original choice of album this week was Strange but True but it didn’t grab hold of me and so I went in search of more Kathryn Tickell and found Hollowbone which I’ve been listening to since the middle of the week and which has weaved its magical way into my psyche. It blends the contemporary and the traditional with vibrant arrangements and has a potent, stirring energy. I particularly love Hushabye Birdie/Hexham Lasses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbYMYGEkyvc&list=RDK3epYlJChcQ&index=5

I’ve long admired Kathryn Tickell and her impressive career as musician, teacher, musicologist and curator of valuable tradition. I enjoy listening to her shows on Radio 3 where she displays an abundance of warmth and knowledge and sheer love of music. She is central to the cultural life of the North East both in her work at Newcastle University – she was one of the founders of the Folk and Traditional Music BA course and where she still teaches – and through her foundation for young musicians. https://www.kathryntickell.com/biography She also works with The Sage in Gateshead.

Over a long and luminous career, Kathryn Tickell has worked with many musical collaborators including Linda Thompson, Andy Shepherd and The Penguin Café Orchestra to name a few. She has an extensive discography and continues to innovate and explore the music of the North East and Borders, bringing new and subtle layers in her arrangements and performances of traditional songs and tunes.

I am five days older than Kathryn Tickell. We are Summer of Love children, born under the sign of Gemini in 1967. I was destined to pass through Newcastle and the North East between 1985-89, my university years, which I reflect on as truly golden and formative. I lived in Gateshead, Fenham and Heaton and enjoyed making music in the pubs and folk clubs of that time- particularly upstairs at The Broken Doll on Wednesday nights It was a marvelous pub, famous for the blues but hospitable to enthusiastic students running a small folk club. Sadly it was destroyed in the interests of town planning and progress. It was a wonderful place.

It broke my heart to leave Newcastle and for some years I vowed to return. However, life takes us on our own paths and it was not to be. I have a wistful and happy remembrance of those years and I have visited a couple of times since; occasions imbued with the bitter/sweet emotions of retracing steps.

The vibrant presence of Kathryn Tickell, igniting passion for music, playing so magnificently and being a true Queen of the North lifts my spirits. The North East is an enriched and fortunate place for having her in it.