Highly acclaimed English folk group The Unthanks are set to play Mareel in May, it has been announced.
Known for combining English folk with other musical genres, The Unthanks celebrated their 10th anniversary at the back end of 2015 with a short tour of small intimate spaces, with a pared back line-up.
The band is continuing with this format into early 2016.
The Unthanks were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and were the only British folk representation in The Guardian’s and Uncut’s best albums of last decade.
The band is a family affair for Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, with Rachel married to pianist, producer, arranger and composer, Adrian McNally. Using the traditional music of the North East of England as a starting point, the influence of Steve Reich, Miles Davis, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony and the Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits can be heard in the band’s eight albums to date, including Mount The Air which was released to huge critical acclaim last year.
The band’s lineup is described as “ever-fluctuating” but the lineup is usually comprised of five-piece the Unthank sisters on vocals (and feet!),McNally on piano, Chris Price on guitars and bass, and Niopha Keegan on fiddle. It often swells to as many as 10 with the support of session musicians.
With their unconventional approach to the folk genre, it can be hard to pin down The Unthanks’ style. They see folk music less as a style of music and more as an oral history that offers perspective on our own time. Their approach to storytelling straddles the complex relationship between modernism and learning from the past.