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Kate Rusby

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Penistone, Yorkshire (1995 – present)

Kate Rusby (born 4 December 1973 in Barnsley; currently based in Penistone, Yorkshire) is an English folksinger and one of the most popular singers of English folk songs. She was at the centre of the folk revival in the 1990s which occurred with the coming of age of the children of those who were part of the 60s folk revival. In 2001 The Guardian described her as “a superstar of the British acoustic scene”. In 2007 the BBC website described her as “The first lady of young folkies”. She is one of the few folk singers to have been nominated for the Mercury Prize.

After learning to play the guitar, the fiddle, and the piano, as well as to sing, Rusby played at many local folk festivals as a child and adolescent. She came to wider attention through her duets with her friend and fellow Barnsley folk singer Kathryn Roberts on the 1995 album Kate Rusby & Kathryn Roberts.

At about this time she joined, and became the lead vocalist of, the all-female Celtic folk band The Poozies. This led to her becoming a founding member of the group Equation, which included Kathryn Roberts and Seth Lakeman. Rusby left Equation (being replaced by Cara Dillon) to follow a more traditional direction and, in 1997, released her debut solo album Hourglass produced by Scottish fiddler John McCusker (to whom Rusby was married for some time).

In 1999 Rusby recorded Sleepless which earned her a Mercury Music Prize nomination and the BBC Folk Award for Best Album and Best Folk Singer.

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