Music Q&A:
Lady Maisery

The folk trio chat ahead of their tour this November, performing music from their new album Cycle

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What informs your music/songwriting?
We are inspired by what is happening in the world around us and there are themes which often crop up in our music, such as politics, social inequality, feminism, the natural world and our disconnection with it. Over the years we have arranged and reworked many traditional songs, but we are increasingly starting to make our own new material, contributing to the body of folk songs that have been sung by many voices over time. One of the wonderful things about folk songs is how they can be decades or even centuries old, and still feel strikingly relevant today. We sing the 17th century ‘Diggers Song’ about power and corruption in society, and the right to common land, which really strikes a chord with audiences now. We also sing Leon Rosselson’s powerful ‘Palaces of Gold’ which was inspired by the Aberfan disaster, and has taken on a whole tragic relevance over the last few months since the Grenfell Tower fire. Our most recent album ‘Cycle’ was inspired by journeys and cycles in life, the things that many of us experience, the passing of time and the never-ending turning of the seasons.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
We have all become much more assured and confident as three individual artists since we began the band, which has really enriched our sound and held us together. We’re more sure now what we all bring to the group and how we artistically ‘act’ within this group, what our role is. We’ve also developed a style of singing together in a really blended way, which now is kind of second nature, but wasn’t at first. We all say how differently we sing when we’re doing a Lady Maisery gig – it’s like our individual voices become more than a sum of their parts. And that’s kind of the point of our band, so, I suppose that’s a good thing.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?

As a band, we are still promoting our new album Cycle, which came out last year, and we’re really enjoying bringing the songs to life. It’s a more structured show now because of the new album – we’re aiming for more of an arc or a journey through the show, like there is in the album. We’re also just beginning to think about the seeds of some new material, which will hopefully start to work its way into our gigs soon.

What’s on your rider?
Tea and soya milk. We are the most un-rock and roll band you have ever met.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

We once played a gig at a festival called ‘Costa Del Folk’ in southern Portugal to which only English folk fans came. It was an English folk festival package holiday, in southern Portugal – the idea being English folk fans would get their favourite music in a warmer climate. Everyone seemed to have a great time but I would definitely describe it as surreal, on many levels… it was also, ironically, the only gig Rowan ever wore her puffa jacket on stage – it was freezing!

What song do you wish you’d written?
Happy Birthday To You – provided I could prove it…

What’s your worst lyric?
We sing ‘mouth music’ or tune-singing sometimes, which means we use nonsense words to create the rhythms of a dance tune. It’s the ideal place to slip up and sing a rude word… though hopefully nobody has ever noticed.

Lady Maisery play:

Friday 10 November – The Witham, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham

Saturday 11 November – Eccles Town Hall, nr Salford, Greater Manchester

Sunday 12 November – Firth Hall, Sheffield

Friday 17 November -The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Saltaire.

Saturday 18 November – St Georges Church, New Mills. Derbyshire

Sunday 19 November – Selby Town Hall , North Yorks.

Monday 20 November – NCEM, York.

Photo: James Fagan

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Lady Maisery

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