ireby folk festival


Lady Maisery - Mayday

lady, maisery, mayday,

The triumvirate of talent that is Rowan Rheingans, Hannah James, and Hazel Askew reconvene for a second album as Lady Masiery. After their first outing, Weave And Spin, catapulted them into the limelight, and helped secure a nomination for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Horizon Award, one would think new direction might have been an issue, but Mayday sees the group negotiate uncharted waters with ease.

Never afraid of issue-led material the trio sink their teeth into a range of vintage songs which still resonate today. Opening in a darkly sinister fashion the group grasp the foreboding imagery in 'The Crow On The Cradle', by Sydney Carter, bolstering their vocal harmonies with inventive percussion and chilling minor chords.

The current austerity measures and class divide are bought to mind as Leon Rosselson's 'Palaces Of Gold' is given a fresh coat of acapella singing. And, recent download single, Kate Bush's 'This Woman's Work', highlights just how skilled they have become at interpretation and presentation of challenging narratives and melodies.

Several versions of 'The Grey Selkie' were collated to explore gender politics again in what could prove to be the most arresting yet soporific song to be released this year. Further forays into folklore discover similar topics at the heart of 'The Lady And The Blacksmith' and the child ballad 'Lady Maisery', from which they take their name.

Singing remains the main ingredient here, however, Hazel's harp, Hannah's accordion, and Rowan's fiddle and banjo, are taken to new heights of skill and applied with passion to this strikingly beautiful collection.

lucy ward

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