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Kathryn Tickell


Kathryn Tickell (Biography courtesy of the Artist's site, 2006)

Kathryn Tickell's roots are in the North Tyne Valley of Northumberland, where many of her relatives still play traditional music. Her father Mike Tickell is an acclaimed performer of the songs of this area. Kathryn took up the Northumbrian smallpipes at the age of nine and by the age of thirteen had won all the traditional open smallpipes competitions and was rapidly making a name for herself as a fiddle player.
At the age of sixteen Kathryn released her first album, "On Kielderside". Two years later, in 1986, she turned professional, immediately entering a busy touring schedule throughout Britain & abroad, as well as recording her second album, "Borderlands" which was the first recording to include her own compositions.
In the summer of 1987 she recorded a sixty minute TV documentary, "The Long Tradition" for Channel 4. This chronicled her musical development and background, was broadcast in December 1987, and released on video in 1989.
Kathryn's third album, "Common Ground" was chosen as one of "Q" magazines 'Records of the Year'. Kathryn was also named as Top Instrumentalist in the Folk Roots Poll of 1988.
In 1990 the Kathryn Tickell Band was formed. The next few years saw Kathryn putting all her energy into the band, recording the albums, "The Kathryn Tickell Band" and, "Signs" and touring extensively throughout the world. However she still found time to compose music for two of Newcastle's Live Theatre Company productions, to present a series of programmes for Radio 2, record with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and with The Chieftains. During this time Kathryn also contributed to Sting albums, as well as joining him to play live at Newcastle City Hall & also on TV.
In March 1997 Kathryn's sixth album, "The Gathering" was released to great critical acclaim and led to appearances on Later with Jools Holland and playing live on Andy Kershaw's Radio 1 show. In May, Sting, Jimmy Nail & Kathryn hit the stage of the Carnegie Hall, New York, performing, "The Waters of the Tyne" at a benefit concert in aid of the Rainforest Foundation. The song has also been recorded for a benefit CD, "Carnival".
Since then Kathryn has been involved in a collaboration with saxophone player John Surman, culminating in two concerts at Stockton Riverside Festival. She has also been presenting more programmes for Radio 2 featuring young musicians throughout Britain.
In February 1997 Kathryn founded the Young Musicians Fund. Managed by The Community Foundation, the fund aims to help young people in the North East region to realise their musical potential.
In 1998 Kathryn released, "The Northumberland Collection", an album featuring various musicians and singers from the county. She also became Gateshead's Composer in Education, working with three primary schools and the Gateshead Youth Orchestra.
1999 saw Kathryn touring with her new band & releasing her eighth album, "Debateable Lands".
In August 1999 Kathryn was awarded a bursary from the Britten-Pears Foundation to study composition with Judith Weir at Dartington International Summer School. She also presented a series of TV programmes on music composition for Channel 4 Schools.
2000 was another exciting year with, "Lordenshaws" Kathryn's piece for pipes & small ensemble, being penned, toured and broadcast.
The other major project of the year was, Ensemble Mystical - An exciting new group set up by Kathryn and including musicians from classical, jazz and folk backgrounds. The CD, "Kathryn Tickell & Ensemble Mystical" was released in the Autumn and was followed by a sell out tour.
2001 saw Kathryn touring in Uganda, Canada, Italy, France and the UK. Collaboration with jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard resulted in a major multi-media work, which was premiered at the opening of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. It was also released as a limited edition CD (Music for a New Crossing).
In September 2001 the Kathryn Tickell Band performed as part of the "Last Night of the Proms" celebrations, the first time the event had included traditional folk music. The performance was broadcast nationally and internationally.
Since September 2001 Kathryn has been a part -time lecturer on the new Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle University.
In 2002 Kathryn's 10th album, "Back to the Hills" was released featuring solos, duets and trios in traditional style, as well as archive recordings of Kathryn with Northumberland shepherd and fiddle player Willie Taylor.

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