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LIVE MUSIC REVIEW Lady Maisery, Cecil Sharp House London

10th anniversary of top folk trio marked in style

CELEBRATING their 10th anniversary, Lady Maisery — Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans — have been working on adapting songs by other women that have inspired them over the years.

Not all have yet been given a public airing but on this night they provided space for compositions from two of their heroes, Tracy Chapman and Bjork.

Chapman’s 2015 song 3,000 Miles, complete with a collective patting of chests by way of accompaniment, was one of the high spots of a fascinatingly quiet and contemplative concert, while Bjork‘s 1995 Hyper-ballad showed off the group’s vocal harmonies to winning effect.

Both took Lady Maisery marginally out of their comfort zone, which was probably the idea. Too many experimental efforts might have shifted the balance uncomfortably away from their traditional folk base but the scales remained untipped and the audience response was entirely positive.

There were highlights from their various albums of the past 10 years, including Poor Man’s Lamentation, False Young Man, Order and Chaos, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme and, the best of the night, their haunting version of Sydney Carter’s The Crow on the Cradle.

Not much thought had been given to an encore but the trio came back with some “diddling” — nonsense rhyming that must be much harder to sing than it sounds.

They’ve had a good innings since releasing Weave & Spin in 2011, so here’s to another decade of Lady Maisery’s music-making.


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