12 March 2004: Kathryn Tickell – The Fishpond, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, England, UK

I’m not really a big folk music lover but having discovered the delights of Kate Rusby I have made more of an effort to search out the cream of the crop of British folk music.

I first heard Kathryn Tickell on Women’s Hour on radio 4 (god I must be getting old) and immediately knew that this person had real talent. A Northumbrian lass who plays the Northumbrian smallpipes and fiddle but applying them to modern compositions as well as more traditional tracks, Kathryn Tickell is something special, one of those people that as a fair amateur musician gives you a strange mix of pure admiration tinged with a bit of green eyed envy, in other words a truly talented musician.

The show was part of the Nu-Routs series of gigs, designed to use high profile musicians to raise awareness of some the young talent that is out there. This gig featured four students from Newcastle universities traditional music course.

The show started with Ms Tickell doing a couple of tunes on the smallpipes unaccompanied. Real foot tapping stuff and brilliantly executed with real passion.

Next came the best surprise of the evening. The four students from the Folk Degree course – Olivia Ross, Ian Stephenson, Julien Batten and Katie Doherty, one on flute, one on fiddle, one on guitar and one on accordion – and then the show really took off. They were all fantastic.

We were treated to some of the most wonderful live music I have heard for a long time, each student taking turns to show off their particular talent interspersed with ensembles incorporating all the performers, everything from real foot stomping jigs and reels to some really beautiful ballads.

A really great night out.