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”.

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.

Praise for the new album ‘Cloud Horizons’:

“…wildly thrilling” The Guardian

“…unexpectedly cosmic” MOJO

“…vital and assured, folk stomp” Americana-UK

“…this is a blinder! …just fantastic” Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 6 Music

About Kathryn Tickell:

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.

From her first album, released at the age of 16, Kathryn has carried the voices of her family and her Northumbrian traditions in her pipe and fiddle playing. Long-admired by musicians and collaborators such as Jacob Collier, Sting and The Penguin Café Orchestra, Kathryn works across many genres, creating material that is contemporary and exciting. Her music makes a profound connection with audiences. 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’.

Kathryn currently tours with her band ‘The Darkening’, gathering stellar musicians from Northumberland, Scotland and England to invoke the sounds of Ancient Northumbria.

“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.