Voice, Accordion, Clog Dancer
Hannah is a veteran of the folk festival and club circuit. With Kerfuffle she released five albums and was a finalist in the BBC Young Folk Awards. After nine years of touring, Kerfuffle split, but Hannah continues to perform with fiddle player, Sam Sweeney, as a duo and released the acclaimed album Catches and Glees.
In 2009 she studied for 6 months at the Sibelius academy in Helsinki under world class musicians Timo Alakotila and Maria Kalaneimi. Her interest in Scandinavian music led to her involvement with the multi-national supergroup Ethno in Transit.
As a champion clog dancer, she has been a mainstay of The Demon Barber Roadshow and heavily involved with the development of their new theatre show Time Gentlemen Please! In between all this she still finds time to play in the Accordion Trio Hell Said the Duchess, with Beckie Price and Karen Tweed, and has also featured on albums by Bella Hardy, Fay Hield and Spiers and Boden.
Sound clip: www.ladymaisery.com/music
Album Review: Weave and Spin
A cursory glance at the current British folk scene will reveal that a whole generation of artists is coming of age, among them Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans. Having already established themselves with, respectively, Kerfuffle, The Askew Sisters and Fidola, these talented young women have now joined forces as Lady Maisery, a vocal group that draws inspiration the folk singing traditions of Northern Europe and the UK.
Featuring fourteen carefully chosen songs, Weave and Spin is an album of performances that are by turns fragile, powerful, spine-tingling and thought provoking and which demonstrate real empathy with the material, whether it’s the otherworldly themes of ‘The Changeling’s Lullaby’ and a spooky ‘Nottamun Fair’, the anti-war sentiments of ‘Portland Town’ or their beautiful reading of the hymn ‘Sleep on Beloved’.
Although all three are also accomplished musicians, the instrumentation here is kept to a minimum (the harp and voice combination of ‘The Colour of Amber’ being a prime example), allowing the voices to take centre stage, which they do so beautifully, particularly on their revival of the ‘diddling’ tradition where dance tunes such as the ‘Primrose’/’Bluebell Polkas’ are vocalised rather than played.
Full of beautiful and assured vocal performances throughout, Weave & Spin is a fine debut that bodes extremely well for these exceptional musicians.