Voice, Fiddle, Piano
Kate Young is a Scottish musician and composer. She currently performs in the all-female fiddle-singers band Carthy, Hardy, Farrell and Young (***** Songlines for Laylam), and Moulettes. She has recently released her debut album as Kate in the Kettle – Swimmings of the Head – which encompasses an array of songs and tune sets, many of which combine different traditional music sources with self-penned works (**** The Guardian, **** “enthralling” MOJO Magazine). Kate explores the combination of voice with her fiddle-playing whilst applying knowledge of world traditions with her own compositions. She was brought up immersed in the folk music scene in Edinburgh, learning about Scottish traditional music, later going on to graduate from Newcastle University’s BMus in Folk and Traditional Music Honors Degree with a First in Voice and Fiddle performance. As part of world-music band, Ethno in Transit, she has toured across Europe and Australia. She enjoys composing for string quartets and has worked with Mr McFall’s Chamber and Northern Sinfonia Quartet. .
The quartet got together at the suggestion of Kathryn Tickell (which seems as good a reason as any). It was only later, apparently, that it occurred to Tickell that her supergroup all happened to be female fiddle players, as well as singers.
At the foursome’s Haywards Heath show, the vocal element is certainly what hits first. Scots singer Kate Young leads the line on opener Greasy Coat, her bold delivery and musical brogue lending itself pleasingly to the old-timey Americana. The fiddles initially act as a subtle bed for the singing, and the harmonies from Farrell, Hardy and Carthy are warm and considered. Proceedings are leant a certain swing via Young’s ankle-mounted tambourine, and Carthy’s bass drum, which she stomps at all night…
I’d not heard of Kate Young before Laylam was announced, but she more than holds her own in such illustrious company (check the video of her standing in a lake, below). Young’s own composition, Green & Gold, is inspired by Slovenian figs (yep, Slovenian figs) and characterised by unexpected percussive scrapes and changes in direction. And her singing is just as good – she leads a sassy version of Why Don’t You Do Right with confidence.