|Sunday 27 September 2015 @ 02:00pm : -
Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin
Winners of the 2014 BBC Radio Two Folk Award for Best Duo, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin are one of the most exciting and innovative duos to appear on the folk/roots/acoustic scene in recent years. With a rapidly expanding following and a truly unique sound that effortlessly spans many genres, the duo have been touring constantly for the past three years, winning new fans of all ages wherever they go. Festival appearances have included regular Glastonbury slots; all the major folk festivals including mainstage slots at Sidmouth Folk Week; Broadstairs; Warwick; Shrewsbury; Gate To Southwell; Shepley Spring; Priddy; and a constant presence on the greenfield festival circuit, at events such as Larmer Tree (mainstage); Sunrise Celebration (mainstage); and Green Man.
2011 saw the release of their debut album, Singing The Bones, which garnered national airplay from BBC Radio 2 and 3, and warm praise from the specialist music press: "I was completely knocked out by this duo...just a terrific album...absolutely great, wonderful" (4/5/11, BBC Radio Two). "Fast becoming hot property on the folk scene, and it''s easy to hear why" (fRoots July 2011).
Hailing from Lancashire, Phillip Henry is one of the UK''s top slide guitarists and harmonica players. Over the past decade he has immersed himself in the music of the Deep South of America, traditional music of the British Isles, and Indian classical music. Specializing in lap slide techniques, his masterful Dobro playing draws together these diverse influences to create a truly unique voice that has been described as "Stunningly good" (Dick Gaughan), and "utterly captivating" (Steve Knightley). His innovative harmonica style combines country blues and folk styles with beat-boxing to create a jaw dropping and much coveted 21st century harmonica sound heavily steeped in tradition.
Hannah Martin is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Devon. Her songs weave folklore and legend old and new with beautiful melodies, creating haunting compositions delivered with "a bold and beautiful singing style all her own" (BBC Radio Two). Writing mainly on fiddle, viola, and banjo, and drawing on the traditions of the British Isles, she has been commended by Mike Harding for her "really fantastic singing" (4/5/11). 2012 saw Hannah selected to be part of the National Theatre''s War Horse School, working with John Tams, Nancy Kerr, John Kirkpatrick and Chris Parkinson. She was also involved in The Nursery Rhyme Project for the Bristol OId Vic, co-writing and performing in a show exploring one of our oldest oral traditions.
In 2008 Phillip travelled to Calcutta to study under the tutelage of Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, India''s premier slide guitarist. He left behind the duo The School Of Trobar, formed with his old friend Tobias Ben Jacob. In Phillip''s absence, Tobias began to work on some new material with a local fiddle player he''d met called Hannah. When Phillip returned, this project evolved into the band The Roots Union, who spent three years on the road, playing countless gigs and festivals, and gaining a loyal fan base. Their many adventures together included appearing live from Maida Vale studios for a special edition of BBC Radio Three''s Late Junction; and enjoying a stint of recording work in Nashville, Tennessee. On meeting, Phillip and Hannah instantly recognised a very powerful musical connection, which became a big feature of the band''s sound. Unfortunately, the band came to an end in 2010, but Phillip had long been gigging as a solo act alongside his other projects, and invited Hannah to continue working together as a duo.
Then, one sunny Sidmouth Folk Week in 2010, Phillip and Hannah were spotted busking in the back of a pub by Steve Knightley. Seeing the duo''s potential, he invited them to fill some support slots for Show Of Hands. This was the beginning of an incredible year for the duo, joining Show Of Hands for a full concert tour, numerous festival dates, including twice headlining the Saturday night Ham Marquee at Sidmouth (2011 and 2012); and culminating in appearing as Show Of Hands'' special guests at their Royal Albert Hall 20th anniversary show at Easter 2012.
2012 also saw Phil and Hannah support Steve Knightley on his nationwide spring tour; as well as 33 festival appearances in their own right. Awarded an Arts Council funded tour of south west arts centres in autumn 2012, the duo went on to win "Best Folk Act" at the 2012 South West Music Awards, and began 2013 by being publicly voted "Best Duo" at the Spiral Awards. Their second studio album, Mynd, was released to great acclaim in September 2013, and their touring schedule has since included dates in France, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and South Africa. February 2014 saw their biggest accolade to date - winning the Best Duo award at the BBC Two Folk Awards, held in a star studded ceremony at London''s Royal Albert Hall. They recorded a special show in May 2014 that became their album, Live in Calstock, released this summer. They are looking forward to more international touring, including Japan and Norway, in 2015, and are currently working on their third studio release - due autumn 2015.
Press Quotes for the album "MYND":
"On hearing the first notes of the first track I knew that I was listening to a modern classic. One of the most exciting albums I''ve heard in years" ~ Mike Harding
"Subtle, atmospheric, bravely original" ~ Robin Denselow, The Guardian ****
"This duo has a combination of virtuosity, intensity and charisma that merits a slot on much bigger stages" ~ John L. Walters, The Guardian
"An imaginative and innovative album - songs that linger in the memory held together by the fine musicianship of Henry and Martin. Strong and original - an unusual treat" ~ Martin Chilton, Daily Telegraph ****
"A thoughtful and moving album with great arrangements" ~ Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
"Eloquent performers - a musical success story" ~ Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3