Edgelarks began their musical journey together living in a small caravan in the hills near Exmouth, Devon. Phil had returned, Chaturangui in tow, from studying slide guitar in India with the master musician Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. Hannah had grown up playing fiddle at traditional folk sessions. The pair met when they were both recruited to alt-roots outfit The Roots Union, travelling from festival to festival, tent to tent, wandering the highways, byways, and old forgotten pathways of these islands. When the band folded, Phil and Hannah formed a duo. They followed in the footsteps of the ancient troubadour tradition, picking up tunes, songs and stories along the way. Spotted busking on the seafront at Sidmouth Folk Festival by champion of independent music Steve Knightley, they soon found themselves touring nationally, supporting the likes of Show of Hands and Seth Lakeman, and eventually winning the prestigious Best Duo award at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards.
Feather – released May 2019 – will mark another step in Edgelarks’ journey. In April 2018, they retreated to a remote cottage in Ulpha, western Cumbria. They breathed in the mountain view, banked up the fire, and took their many instruments out of their cases. Then they sat down, and wrote. Tired of the navelgazing tendencies of sad songwriting, and the terrible events frequently depicted in the folk ballad tradition, they decided to turn their attention to an oft overlooked but vital facet of our lives: hope.
Cheerful songs are often anathema to folk singers. But for the estimable Edgelarks, their fifth studio album seemed the perfect time to release Feather, a collection of unruffled songs suffused with hope, joy and celebration – ‘bright songs for dark times’.
“Subtle, atmospheric… Bravely original” – Robin Denselow, The Guardian ****
“Keen, curious and concerned intellects are at work here. Hannah Martin is an enthralling singer; Phillip Henry plays all manner of guitars and the harmonica, terrifically.” – Julian May, Songlines ***** Top of the World album
“Rich and complex – there is something of June Tabor about Hannah’s vocal performance – a voice that is strong and flexible and which, coupled with Phillip’s instrumental virtuosity, suggests we’re hearing stars of the future” – Dai Jeffries, R2 ****