Sally Barker (The Voice UK) is back on tour with The Poozies and Heading for The Atkinson this spring

Sally Barker (The Voice UK) is back on tour with The Poozies and Heading for The Atkinson this spring

The Poozies on tour in the UK for the first time since founder member Sally Barker’s success on BBC1’s The Voice UK perform at The Atkinson on Saturday 21 March.

Having won her way to the final of the primetime competition – and into the hearts of the general public, and a certain Sir Tom Jones – Sally remains the lead vocalist and guitar player in the band that she co-founded over 20 years ago.

The band, Sally Barker, Mary Macmaster, Eilidh Shaw and Mairearad Green create a sparkling, perfected blend that comfortably bridges folk and contemporary to enchanting effect. They boast a powerful combination of rhythmic punching acoustic guitar, Camac electro-harp, dextrous fiddle, accordion and spine-tingling songs in four-part harmony.

They began their auspicious odyssey over 20 years ago, when folk music wore elaborately patterned woolly jumpers and was only seen in dingy back rooms and very late at night on BBC2.

From the word “go” they were breaking out and happily exploring the musical universe. Pioneers of unusual and exciting arrangements, not only from the rich vein of traditional Gaelic culture but from any enticing genre, they take their audiences on a sparkling, spine-tingling journey through a sometimes fantastical landscape.

Sally Barker is from Leicestershire, and before founding The Poozies in 1990 was already an award-winning song-writer and a well-established and respected singer of folk, blues, jazz and a touch of heavy-metal. Her second solo album, This Rhythm Is Mine, was awarded a four star review by Q Magazine, and she’s supported many famous headliners in her time, including Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Jimmy Nail and Richard Thompson. Her most recent project has been a tribute to Joni Mitchell, which has delighted both her own fans and those of the great songstress herself.

Mary Macmaster (also a founding member) comes from Glasgow originally, but moved to Edinburgh to study and never left. She has long been recognised as one of the world’s leading exponents and innovators of both the metal-strung clarsach and the Camac electro-harp, and has constantly been in demand as a session musician and singer, appearing on albums by Dick Gaughan, Norma Waterson, Kathryn Tickell and Sting. Yes, Sting – the one from The Police. Mary joined Sting for his beautiful album If on a Winter’s Night, after the release of which they toured the world, and performed live on Later with Jools Holland. Mary is also one part of what is surely a unique duo of harp and drums with the peerless Donald Hay, of Mystery Juice.

Eilidh Shaw, from Taynuilt on the West Coast of Scotland, joined The Poozies in 1999. From a musical family, she cut her teeth on the Scottish Dance Band circuit, having been brought up heavily immersed in the ceilidh and house party tradition. Her heralded ‘solo’ album – with many guest musicians, namely Ian Carr, Donald Hay, Brian Kellock and Simon Bradley – was released in 1997, launching her on to feature in many great groups, including John Rae’s Celtic Feet, Keep It Up, Harem Scarem and The Unusual Suspects.

Mairearad Green is the newest member of The Poozies and comes from the stunning peninsula of Achiltibuie in Wester Ross. Although relentlessly touring with multi-instrumentalist Anna Massie – in the imaginatively named duo, Mairearad and Anna – as well as bands such as The Unusual Suspects and Box Club, Mairearad is arguably best known for her compositions. Her 2009 commission Passing Places (written for Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival) earned her a rare standing ovation from the sell-out crowd in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and a five-star review from The Scotsman. She also picked up that year’s Composer of the Year award at the Scots Trad Music Awards.

The Poozies recipe is a fragrant casserole of invention, creative interpretation and melodic mastery, sprinkled with the spice of open-mindedness – a combination that has made them consistently turn heads since the 1990s.

The passion of Sally Barker’s unique voice is reinforced by the percussive power of her rock solid guitar; irresistible energy bursts from Eilidh Shaw’s fiddle and Mairearad Green’s delicately dexterous accordion; all dramatically grounded by the growling groove of Mary Macmaster’s Camac electro harp; and magnificently rounded off by the blending of four voices in heart-wrenching harmony.
They have been described as the “UK’s finest all-female outfit” and “Britain’s premiere Celtic roots all-woman super-group.” Come and see why.

“….a force to be reckoned with on the traditional folk scene…fantastic vocal harmonies and spectacular instrumentals.” Lori Gordon, Folk Radio UK

“…the instrumental power combined with [their] voices is remarkable” Scotland on Sunday.

The Poozies take to the stage at 7.30pm on Saturday 21 March and tickets are £14. To book or for further information please visit or by calling The Atkinson Box Office on 01704 533333. You can also purchase your tickets over the counter during The Atkinson’s opening hours.

Please be advised that there is a £2 booking fee for telephone and online sales.

The Poozies
Saturday 21 March
Tickets: £14

*Please be advised that there is a £2 booking fee for telephone and online sales.

The Atkinson
Lord Street

In person: Visit The Atkinson box office on Lord Street
For tickets: visit the website or call box office on 01704 533333

Posted on 9 March 2015 under General news

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