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Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening

KT & TD 2023 - photo by Georgia Claire.jpg

Headlining Thursday evening on the Lake Stage will be Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening. Named after the old Northumbrian word for twilight, ‘The Darkening’ is made up of four North-East England-based members: Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian smallpipes, fiddle, vocals), Amy Thatcher (accordion, synth, clogs, vocals), Kieran Szifris (octave mandolin), Joe Truswell (drums, percussion);  with Josie Duncan from the Isle of Lewis (vocals, clarsach). Together these dazzling musicians create musical magic; dynamic and unique “Ancient Northumbrian Futurism”.

wildly thrilling

The Guardian

unexpectedly cosmic


Based in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall yet reaching out to the wider world, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening explore the connecting threads of music, landscape and people over a period of almost 2000 years. Songs range from themes of freedom, nature and venturing out into the world after times of darkness, to a Roman inscription with links to Libya and Syria magnetically pulled into the 21st century with glorious vocal harmonies and the wildest of piping.

vital and assured, folk stomp


this is a blinder! …just fantastic

Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 6 Music

"capturing a sound that effortlessly conjures the past whilst simultaneously referencing the present and future"

Folk Radio UK

Kathryn’s extraordinary career began with learning tunes from old shepherd friends and family, and evolved to traverse genres from jazz and global music to large-scale orchestral works. Exploring and cultivating her bountiful native heritage of Northumberland have been a constant throughout.


She was the first folk artist to appear at the BBC Proms, as a commissioned composer, curator and performer. Her concert performances have been lauded as “beautiful and important work” (writer David Almond); “I can’t remember feeling so exhilarated by such a match of music and landscape” (Richard Morrison, The Times).


Amongst her extensive work on her home ground, Kathryn set up a new community interest company Magnetic North-East in 2016, to celebrate and promote the distinctive cultural identity of the North-East of England. She is also founder of The Young Musicians Fund at the Community Foundation, which has raised over £100,000 for young people in the area.


Kathryn has been awarded the OBE, and also the Queen’s Medal for Music for her outstanding contribution to British music; the first non-classical recipient of this award. She has twice won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Musician of the Year. She is also a regular presenter for BBC Radio 3’s ‘Music Planet’.


No one has evoked the landscape and traditions of Northumbria more affectingly than Kathryn Tickell; a champion of the Northumbrian pipes, she is steeped in the songs and mythology of the north-east

The Observer.

4th to 7th July 2024

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