Kathryn Tickell, On Kielder Side

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The Ur-text for the contemporary British folk revolution.

This is where the young folk revolution really began, the Ur-text, if you like. Recorded in 1984, when Kathryn Tickell was just 16, it not only helped paved the way for the virtuosity of a generation, but also brought the Northumbrian pipes into the spotlight. This shows the teenage Tickell to be very much a work in progress, but still astonishingly good, as she demonstrates on "Border Spirit," even without the easy confidence that would come later. Alone or with a small group there's a lovely fluidity to her playing, which she exhibits on "Ronell's Reel," and a love of her local music that flies out of the speakers. She's more than adept on violin, too, sliding gracefully through the tricky turns of "The Skate," and bringing a melodic delicacy to "Johnny Cope." She set the standard for the young players who would shortly emerge, and has stayed ahead of the pack. As this shows, her lasting career has been built on a sure and solid foundation.