Voice, Harp, Melodeon
Hazel is a singer, musician and composer from London. She grew up immersed in folk music and stories, and spent her childhood at folk festivals, dancing and playing for Morris, Appalachian and Rapper teams.
During her teenage years, Hazel learnt folk flute with Sarah Allen, and joined the music course at Pimlico School where she studied flute, harp and singing. Her growing interest in traditional English music and song led her to teach herself the melodeon and start performing with her sister Emily as The Askew Sisters
She followed her love of stories to Newcastle University to English Literature with Music, where she gained a first class degree as well as the Harry Clews Prize for her folk singing recital.
Hazel now spends her time performing professionally with The Askew Sisters, have now released three critically acclaimed albums, won Best Female Singer at the Spiral Earth Awards 2011.
She also formed the trio Lady Maisery with Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans with whom she sings and plays harp and concertina. The group are inspired by singing traditions of the UK and northern Europe, and have also become well-known for the revival of the English diddling tradition, which had almost been forgotten. In 2012 they were nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk Award and have played live on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio 3’s In Tune.
Apart from her work on the folk scene, Hazel sings and plays medieval harp with Early Music groups such as The Dufay Collective and The Artisans, with whom she has played at Buckingham Palace, The Globe Theatre and live on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.
Hazel’s love of music and narrative has also led her to work as a composer for film, theatre and dance. She has written music for stage productions by companies including Darren Ellis Dance, The Hampstead Players and Shakespeare in Styria. She recently composed the orchestral score for More Film’s trilogy of fairy stories ‘Tales’, as well as a popular music soundtrack for their upcoming film ‘International Men’s Day’. She is currently scoring songs and music for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s series on original pronunciation at their new Jacobean Indoor Playhouse.
Sound clip: www.myspace.com/askewsisters
Album Review: Through Lonesome Woods, The Askew Sisters
Nothing askew about this, it’s just their family name. This is the second album so far by Askew sisters Hazel (vocals and melodeon) and Emily (violin and backing vocals) and it’s just lovely, a real delight, superbly recorded and produced for Wild Goose by Andy Bell.
Three of the eleven tracks are dance tune sets, beautifully played, the others are traditional songs from the British Isles (mostly English). Hazel and Emily’s approach reveals a deep connection, understanding, knowledge, and love of traditional dance music and song, and at the same time their classical training is apparent in the deliberation and control of the playing and singing. This is skilful, thoughtful, careful, measured music making…
…It’s not only great arrangements of great material though. It’s worth saying that Hazel can really play the melodeon and bring to it her own expressiveness and character, Emily can really play the violin and bring to it her own expressiveness and character, and Hazel can really sing. This woman can really sing, and that’s always something special, because there’s not enough of it about.
I bet I’m not the only reviewer who loves this album. Bloody gorgeous.