Kathryn Tickell Biography

8 June 1967, Wark, North Tyne Valley, Northumberland, England. Tickell appeared like a breath of fresh air onto the folk scene, which was being criticized for its fuddy-duddy image. Playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle, Tickell had played piano from the age of six. Having learned the Shetland style of fiddle playing from Tom Anderson, she played at the first Shetland folk festival in 1981. Two years later, she was breaking new ground by appearing at the Edinburgh International Festival. In 1984 she was made official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the same year as On Kielderside was released. As a result of the acclaim, she turned professional in 1985 and followed a busy touring schedule. Having been inspired by respected musicians such as Alistair Anderson, Joe Hutton, Willy Taylor and Will Atkinson, she recorded an album of Northumbrian music, From Sewingshields To Glendale that same year. Her musical development was chronicled in a television documentary, The Long Tradition, broadcast in 1987 and released on video the following year.

In the 90s Tickell broadened her horizons beyond that of pure folk, playing on Sting’s The Soul Cages. The new Kathryn Tickell Band, which recorded a self-titled 1991 album, included Lynn Tocker (accordion), Ian Carr (guitar) and Geoff Lincoln (bass guitar). Tickell’s Northumbrian pipe playing is highly regarded, especially when comparisons are made between age and proficiency, and her work for Park Records in the late 90s and onwards has reflected her increasingly creative compositional skills.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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