“It’s like opening up a Victorian music box to hear the most beguiling and captivating singing and sounds: an original concept throughout and utterly disarming.”

Shirley Collins

“Knapp’s voice throughout is a revelation...both pure and wild, springing free. Folk delivered with lust and menace.”


Jude Rogers for Guardian

We are incredibly excited to announce, as part of the Freedom Sessions 2023, for one night only in Hull:

Three of the UK’s most innovative and prestigious folk artists present Blackletter Garland, a brand new album and live tour. Inspired by historic broadside ballads – daily song sheets sold for pence from the 16th to 20th centuries – Marry, Lisa and Nathaniel rejuvenate and reinvent these stories. Fascinating interpretations and original compositions tell intricate tales of birth, love, conflict and death, with all the imagination of the folklore from which they’re based. Arguably the forerunners of our modern news media, broadsides (also known as a broadsheet) often contained ballads and rhymes, which were sung daily in Britain’s streets and inns. Although part of living traditions of folksong, popular art and literature, these illustrated printed sheets are now rare and preserved in only a few libraries. They offer a vivid insight into the past whilst striking a chord with universal themes still relevant today. Songs about love, loneliness and kindness are interwoven with intriguing, humanist and dark stories. Delving into the inky archives at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band bringing broadsides vividly to life for a new generation and offering a rare insight into Britain’s history.

Marry Waterson - voice
Lisa Knapp - voice, fiddle, autoharp
Nathaniel Mann - voice, bowed banjo, electronics and meat cleaver
Barney Morse Brown – cello w/ pedals
Laurence Hunt – percussion

Produced by Sound UK. Commissioned by Sound UK and OCM. Funded by Arts Council England.

Supported by the Bodleian Libraries.