May 19 2011 Chester Chronicle
THE Chester Summer Music Festival has announced that one of its star attractions for 2011 is Emily Portman, a singer, writer and concertina player originally from Glastonbury.
She has been hailed as ‘one of the new British folk scene's most beguiling presences’ by Uncut magazine.
With her 2010 debut album The Glamoury gaining her two BBC Folk Award nominations, Emily is fast gaining a reputation for her songwriting and ‘lark-like’ voice.
Inspired by the darker underbelly of folklore and balladry, Emily will weave harmony-rich narratives of both the magical and the monstrous in Chester on Friday, July 15, accompanied by viola player Lucy Farrell and harpist Rachel Newton of The Shee.
They will be joined by special guest cellist Lucy Deakin who also plays in folk string quartet Methera.
Emily first cut her teeth on the folk scene with harmony trio The Devils Interval and she now annually tours with Waterson:Carthy, with commendations from folk luminaries including Shirley Collins and Bagpuss’s own Sandra Kerr.
Emily originally hails from Glastonbury where, raised on a diet of fairytales and Somerset folklore, she began songwriting at the age of six, starting out with a keyboard, a tape recorder and a thirst for blood-curdling stories.
She started to specialise in folk music at sixth-form college when she borrowed her music teacher’s record collection.
She later moved to Newcastle from Glastonbury in 2002 to study the folk music BA, which has helped develop a wealth of young musical talent.
After years immersed in traditional songs, Emily’s return to songwriting has already grabbed attention across the BBC, with a live session for Radio 6, airplay on Radio 2, and with Radio 3’s Words and Music broadcasting live performances of songs from her album at their Free Thinking Festival.
Emily has recently appeared at The Kings Place, London, The Sage Gateshead and atŠ festivals including The Big Chill, The Green Man and Dranouter (Belguim).
She is also making waves beyond the folk scene, being featured as a soloist on the BBC’s adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles as well as appearing on alt-folk songwriter Alasdair Roberts’s latest album.
Emily’s debut solo album The Glamoury, although recorded on a shoestring, with the help of her boyfriend Will, and released by herself after she set up an independent record company, has been received with overwhelming critical acclaim.
Inspired by the darker underbelly of folklore and balladry The Glamoury recently made Mojo and fRoots top ten folk albums of the year.
The Glamoury, based on traditional stories and myths, began as an MA project and developed into one of the most original English folk albums to be released in 2010.