As things slowly return to normal, whatever that is, musicians are finally realising their dreams of being back on stage performing in front of a live audience once again. For some, particularly those who rely on live performance to pay their bills and mortgages, the past 18 months have been particularly stressful, especially for those just starting out on their careers whose sense of despair as they were overtaken by events can only be guessed at. Among that latter group is a rising star of the British folk scene, Kitty Macfarlane. A songwriter and guitarist from Somerset, her music is rich with visual imagery and written with an eco-eye. Her trademark lies in remarkably mature songwriting, a marked empathy with the environment and a strong sense of place.
Carried by a clear voice described by Folk Radio as “controlled yet wild”, her lyrics touch on intervention and rewilding; climate change and migration; woman’s age-old relationship with textiles and the land; and the changing face of the natural world. From the starling murmurations on the Somerset Levels to the lowly eel’s epic transatlantic migration, the coasts and estuaries of south-west England and the small part we ourselves play in a much bigger picture, her songs are bound by the underlying theme of mankind’s relationship with the wild. Cerebral and topical, honest and immediate, her songs are thought-provoking and evocative and arrive fully formed together with her wonderfully crafted soundscapes.
Kitty’s debut album Namer Of Clouds was one of the Guardian’s Best Folk Albums of 2018, and has seen airplay across the BBC Radio spectrum, with no less a legend than Iggy Pop describing her as “smooth and believable” on his BBC 6Music programme. In 2018 and 19 she was invited to guest-present two episodes of BBC Radio 4’s Tweet Of The Day and also performed live in session on BBC Radio 2 at the beginning of 2019.
Kitty will be performing songs from her debut album at Cardiff’s St. David’s Hall on Tue 12 Oct as part of the relaunched Roots Unearthed series, where she’ll be joined by her band, multi-instrumentalists Jim Molyneux and Jacob Stoney. (Tickets: £16. Info: 029 2078 8444 / here)
Buzz also recommends:
Karine Polwart. One of Scotland’s finest songwriters. The Gate, Cardiff, Thurs 14 Oct
Sean Lakeman & Kathryn Roberts. Sublime fusion of guitar and voice. Rhosygilwen Mansion, Pembrokeshire, Sat 23 Oct