Askew Sisters’ music ‘infectious’ at Sidmouth FolkWeek

Askew Sisters’s concert traditional yet diverse

IF you’ve never experienced top class English folk music, an evening with The Askew Sisters is a fine place to start.

Fast developing a reputation as the next big thing in folk, sibling duo Hazel (melodeon, vocals) and Emily (fiddle), burst on to the scene three years ago, with the critically acclaimed album, All in a Garden Green. Billed as playing with ‘infectious enjoyment’, the Askew bug is certainly easy to catch.

The girls’ line up for FolkWeek Wednesday’s concert was traditional but extremely diverse. Renditions of Bonny Bows of London Town and subdued ballad Henry Martin were highlights, show-casing Hazel’s mellow tones.

Emily’s versatility on the fiddle also shone, through technical hornpipes and upbeat Morris tunes.

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From foot-stomping instrumental to mournful song, each selection offered creative interpretation, and effortless vigour. Both classically trained, accomplished musicians, the sister’s have developed a subconscious dynamic that is truly enchanting to watch.

While folk families play with a legacy of musical history behind them, The Askew Sisters’ ethos is refreshingly plain. They share a deep passion for folk music and simply enjoy playing together.

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In between tunes, the girls’ eccentric musings proved equally uplifting and fresh. Reflecting upon history and influence, their thoughts were warmly received by the crowd. Evidently, The Askew Sisters’ ties to Sidmouth go way back.

“This is my 22nd festival,” stated Emily, happy to grant me a post concert chat. As a child, she recalled fond memories of Maypole dancing frolics, music workshops, and day’s at the old Knowle arena.

Later, the girls embraced the festival as both musicians and Morris Dancers, returning to revel as The Askew Sisters some three years ago.

They couldn’t be happier to be back. “Sidmouth is like a second family to us,” said Emily.

A thoroughly charming performance, it’s exhilarating to wonder what the future could hold for this talented duo.

Having experienced the eager buzz of Wednesday’s sell-out audience, I believe with wholesome confidence, it’s certain to be bright.

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