“I'm glad to be around at the same time as them. They make my heart beat faster.” Martin Freeman
“It hits you in your soul, rather than you head. I love them.” Ade Edmondson
“There really is no better folk band in the land” Q Magazine
English folk group The Unthanks are set to play Mareel on 26 May, it has been announced.
Known for their eclectic approach to their music, combining English Folk with other musical genres, The Unthanks celebrated their 10th anniversary at the back end of 2015 with a short tour of small intimate spaces, with a paired back line-up; their feeling being that if folk music is a lifelong pursuit, 10 years is just a drop in the ocean. The Unthanks continue in this format into early 2016.
Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the only British folk representation in The Guardian’s and Uncut’s best albums of last decade (worldwide, all genres), The Unthanks have an army of notable fans, including actor Martin Freeman, Elvis Costello, Colin Firth, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, Rosanne Cash, members of Portishead and Radiohead, Dawn French, Paul Morley, Ewan McGregor, Stephan Mangan, Al Murray, Ade Edmondson and Nick Hornby. The Unthanks is a family affair for Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, with Rachel married to pianist, producer, arranger and composer, Adrian McNally. Using the traditional music of the North East of England as a starting point, the influence of Steve Reich, Miles Davis, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony & The Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits can be heard in the band’s 8 albums to date, including Mount The Air, released to huge critical acclaim last year.
With their ever fluctuating lineup, (usually comprised of 5 piece Rachel & Becky Unthank on vocals (and feet!), Adrian McNally on Piano, Chris Price on guitars and bass, and Niopha Keegan on Violin, but often swelling to as many as 10 with the support of session musicians), and there unconventional approach to the folk genre, it can be hard to pin down what makes up The Unthanks style. There is a socially conscious heart to much of their work. They see folk music less as a style of music and more as a oral history that offers perspective on our own time. Their approach to storytelling straddles the complex relationship between modernism and learning from the past. Staunch traditionalism and sonic adventure may seem like polar opposites, yet they are easy bedfellows in the gentle hands of The Unthanks. Definable only by what they describe as their ‘restless eccentricity’, there are no easy one-liners to capture who or what The Unthanks are, or much point in guessing what they'll do next. What you can be sure of however, is a fantastic show.
Tickets for the concert will be available through Shetland Box Office online at www.shetlandboxoffice.org, over the phone on 01595 745555 or in person at Mareel & Isleburgh