The POOZIES began their career in 1990 after Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster (aka the Scottish harp duo, Sileas) had been working with singer Sally Barker on her second solo album. They all agreed there was a gap for a women's folk super group and when Sally met the all-Ireland accordion champion, Karen Tweed, at the Hong Kong Folk Festival, the band was born. The POOZIES initial touring experience was as a 5-piece band with fiddler JENNY GARDINER, who left before the band recorded their first album CHANTOOZIES (although Jenny did feature as a guest on the song “Foggy Mountain Top”).
During the last 17 or so years, the band has enjoyed great success wherever they have travelled. This is due largely to the spirit of joy in their music, which is at their core whatever changes are on the surface. With Sally there was an element of rock music present - she was once described as "the only person I've heard SCREAM in tune", (Shetland Folk Festival). When Sally left, the "voice of the nineties", KATE RUSBY, joined. With Kate came a more traditional flavour and a blossoming of the harmony singing that is such a trade-mark of the POOZIES.
However, Kate's meteoric rise to stardom, via the Mercury Awards, swept her away from the band to concentrate on solo work and a new metamorphosis occurred. Joining old-timers, Patsy, Karen, and Mary came the quite delightful EILIDH SHAW, a great young west coast (of Scotland) fiddler with a healthy and impressive musical pedigree. Eilidh grew up playing fiddle in the Highfield Band, a Ceilidh band run by her parents, which boasts an international reputation as the best Scottish Country Dance Band in Scotland.
Then the POOZIES world turned full-circle with original band member SALLY BARKER rejoining to make the POOZIES a 5-piece once more. Sally brought her voice to blend with those fabulous harmonies as well as the wonderful creative force of her song writing.
When Karen decided to leave at the end of 2007, Eilidh suggested one of her Unusual Suspects cohorts, the youthful MAIREARAD GREEN. As talented on the pipes and keyboards as the accordion, Mairearad has that marvellous ability to respond to the delicate interweaving fiddle as a magical world of harmony and counter-melody is created then decorated and melded by the nylon and metal strung harps of Patsy and Mary. Whether an original composition or a traditional melody, the fabtastic Camac electro-harp underpins the unfolding arrangements, and Patsy's twinned fiddle casts beams of rhythm into the mix.
POOZIES are masters of arranging and both their instrumental sets and their songs can take you on a journey through a sometimes fantastical landscape. Perhaps even more spine-tingling are the close vocal harmonies which intensify the songs and which are drawn not only from the rich vein of traditional Scottish Gaelic culture but also from any enticing genre.
The range of experience collectively realised by The Poozies is massive! Between them they have played with: Sileas, Harem Scarem, Clan Alba, Keep It Up, Shine, John Rae’s Celtic Feet, The Unusual Suspects, Karen Tweed, Karine Polwart, Anna Massie Band, Box Club, Caledon, La Boum and The Highfield Ceilidh Band. They have also all guested on many other artists’ recordings including Dick Gaughan, Lal and Norma Waterson, June Tabor and Eliza Carthy.
The success of the POOZIES is evidenced by their continued popularity with audiences. They play to packed houses wherever they go and they are constantly in demand at festivals throughout the summer months.
photo by Louis de Carlo
Original, Traditional, Moving, Uplifting
Seventeen years down the line The Poozies seem to have found the secret of eternal youth. Still with three original members, Sally, Patsy and Mary, they have been energised by the perfectly compatible additions of Eilidh and Mairearad, and remain as fresh and delightful as ever.
The Poozie recipe is a fragrant casserole of inventive interpretations, creative collaborations and melodic mastery, saturated by the spice of open-mindedness with which they happily explore the musical universe.
In this inspirational band of women, the passion of Sally Barker’s vivid voice is reinforced by the percussive power of her rock solid guitar; irresistible energy bursts from Eilidh Shaw’s faultless fiddle; the perfect precision of Patsy Seddon’s shimmering harp intertwines with the magical melodies of Mairearad Green’s delicately dextrous accordion, all grounded by the growling groove of Mary Macmaster’s capacious Camac electro harp and rounded off by the blending of five different yet sympathetic voices in heart-wrenching harmony.
“In a world wrapped in grey, the Poozies are a giant splash of colour” Richard Penguin
“..unique among folk roots artists” : Padruig Michael Mann
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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Our current header image was taken by Nick Bramhall and you can find the original here.