Music Q&A:
Kathryn Tickell

The traditional North East musician is teaming up with author David Almond for a performance of Tales & Tunes at Manchester Folk Festival, 21 Oct

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What informs your music and songwriting?
I’m very influenced by being from the north, specifically the North East. I play the Northumbrian small pipes, which are the traditional instrument of the region. However my music looks forward as well as back, and I love experimenting with using the pipes in different contexts. This performance is with the writer David Almond, so it’s been interesting to put his words and my music together. We’ve also brought in my friend Amy Thatcher (originally from Stockport, pictured right) to help fill out the sound world. She’s a wonderful accordionist and clog dancer.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?

I think any decent artist is constantly evolving. Each new experience has some part to play in what you do and how you create things. Having said that, I don’t think that creative evolution goes in a straight line – mine certainly hasn’t. I do some really off the wall projects, then go back to something more traditional, then I’m off in another direction, then back to my Northumbrian roots, and so it goes on.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Well, this next tour Tales & Tunes is with David, so it’s been an interesting challenge exploring how you actually do a gig with someone who doesn’t sing or play anything, without it just being a book reading with me playing a few tunes in it. I think we’ve risen to the challenge! And outside of the Tales & Tunes tour I have lots of other projects and ideas on the go (too many ideas, too little time – that’s me).

What’s on your rider?

Hmmm… Good point! This is a new tour with a new line-up and I don’t think we’ve even thought about the rider, so it’s probably the same as we had last time (except there are less people on this tour, so we’ll each get more of the rider. Excellent).

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

Telling Bruce Springsteen that he might want to take up the concertina.

What song do you wish you’d written?

Too many to list here.

What’s your worst lyric?
I don’t really do lyrics – I do tunes! But come along to see me and David. He’s got loads of words.

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Kathryn Tickell

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