Celebrated as part of a new breed of young musicians returning to their roots, fiddlers Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr were both 18 when they appeared on the cover of the UK’s Folk Roots magazine. Kerr’s father was a Northumbrian piper while her mother, Sandra Kerr, is a celebrated singer-songwriter who has worked extensively with Ewan MacColl. Carthy too, has famous parentage, being the daughter of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson (of the Watersons). Prior to the duo’s debut album Carthy and Kerr had only been acquainted for two years, having met at the Sidmouth Festival. Although they did not initially like each other, their parents encouraged them to play together, and both were impressed by the power of their two unaccompanied fiddles and singing (such a format being something of a rarity in English traditional music). Their debut album featured original songs such as Kerr’s ‘Prague’, and ‘The Wrong Favour’, a formidable, angry tract written by Carthy, who is also a keen poet. It was followed in 1995 by Shape Of Scrape, which this time concentrated fully on traditional material such as ‘Lay Down In The Broom’ and ‘I Know My Love’.
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