Rather than embarking on some grand celebration, The Unthanks are quietly marking their 10th anniversary this year with a short tour of small intimate spaces, with a paired back line-up, their feeling being that if folk music is a lifelong pursuit, 10 years is just a drop in the ocean. And in the same respect, rather than putting out an exploitative ‘best of’, a release of rarities. live recordings, memorabelia and unreleased material will accompany the tour.
Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the only British folk representation in The Guardian’s and Uncut’s best albums of last decade (worldwide, all genres), The Unthanks have an army of notable fans, including actor Martin Freeman, Elvis Costello, Colin Firth, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, Rosanne Cash, members of Portishead and Radiohead, Dawn French, Paul Morley, Ewan McGregor, Stephan Mangan, Al Murray, Ade Edmondson and Nick Hornby. The Unthanks is a family affair for Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, with Rachel married to pianist, producer, arranger and composer, Adrian McNally.
Using the traditional music of the North East of England as a starting point, the influence of Steve Reich, Miles Davis, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony & The Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits can be heard in the band’s 8 albums to date, including Mount The Air, released to huge critical acclaim earlier this year.
Animated film to the single, Mount The Air: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYiMUUNu0QM
Video to the second single from Mount The Air, Flutter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60cyIstHRs8
“The Unthanks seem to regard folk music the same way Miles Davis regarded jazz: as a launch pad for exploring the wider possibilities.” Uncut
‘Intimate, epic, overflowing with feeling and musical intelligence’ The Independent
“I had to take a single summary of what Alfie and I have being doing over the years to the proverbial desert island I wouldn’t take one of our own records. I’d take the crystal clear interpretations of The Unthanks.” Robert Wyatt
“Rachel and Becky’s voices are one of the true wonders of 21st-century music” NME
“It is their ability to pare back extraneous matter and to stare unflinchingly into the very soul of a song that makes them a spellbinding experience”BBC Music
“Just beautiful” Lauren Laverne
“Haunting, original and magnificent” The Guardian