Maddy Prior In Concert with Giles Lewin and Hannah James performing at The Martin Hall Loughborough University on Wednesday 18th April 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Over the course of her remarkable career, the folk superstar known as Maddy Prior has made it her mission to work with some of the most exceptional musicians in the world, with Steeleye Span, Silly Sisters and the Carnival Band.

And last night at the Martin Hall, Loughborough University she added accordion player, singer and clog dancer Hannah James and multi-instrumentalist Giles Lewin on fiddle, alto recorder and bagpipes to form a trio that explored their own brand of music.

Delivering a set that was just simply magical, the voices of all three musicians just blended into perfect harmonies as they began with fans favourite, The Undoing World; a song about refugees travelling to America. They made ample use of their lovely harmonies with the many a capella songs they performed, particularly the lovely Three Drunken Maidens.

A short lesson on the starling flights known as a murmuration was engagingly given before the trio launched into a new song of the same name; a superb song with wonderful harmonies.

Leaving the lead momentarily to Lewin he delivered the lovely Flying Boy in the first half, which was a haunting and poignant song which the enraptured crowd really appreciated. And as well as his amazing violin and pipe playing, the crowd were also treated to James’ energetic clog dancing in the Clog Dance as well as her superb accordion solo.

For the second half, they showcased their new album Shortwinger, which is themed around birds. The Austringer, Swallow and The Owl were a magical mix of traditional tales and everyday events, wrapped in clever and complex harmonies.

With Prior leaving the stage to Lewin and James for James’ penned The Lucky Blackbird and House Of White Roses, and Lewin’s Waterman’s Dance and The Quacking Of The Duck; this audience was truly entertained.

Finishing with a rousing rendition of Fields Of The Cloth Of Gold and an encore which included some yodelling, this trio of talents had made some beautiful music. Weaving through the songs with Prior’s swirling scarf and James’ superb clog performances, they had delivered a classic folk evening. Just what you would expect from this very talented trio.