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Martin Carthy

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Martin Carthy (born May 21, 1941) is an English folk singer and guitarist who has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music, inspiring contemporaries such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and later artists such as Richard Thompson since he emerged as a young musician in the early days of the folk revival.

He was born in Hatfield and grew up in Hampstead, London. After training as an actor he sang in coffee bars. He became a resident at the Troubador folk club in Earls Court in the late 1950s. He joined Redd Sullivan’s Thameside Four in 1961. He is a renowned solo performer of traditional songs in a very distinctive style, accompanying himself on his trusty old Martin Guitar; his style is marked by the use of alternate tunings, and a strongly percussive picking style that emphasizes the melody. His debut album, Martin Carthy, was released in 1965, and also featured Dave Swarbrick playing fiddle on some tracks, although he was not mentioned in the album’s sleeve notes.

He has also been involved with many musical collaborations. He has sung with The Watersons since 1972, was an early member of the UK folk rock group Steeleye Span, and was part of the innovative Brass Monkey ensemble, which mixed a range of brass instruments with Carthy’s guitar and mandolin and John Kirkpatrick’s accordion, melodeon and concertina.

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  • headey

    Interviewed on BBC's Desert Island Discs

    13 Jan 2013 Reply
  • mogadored

    Martin Carthy is a fond favourite of mine - sadly I lost a ticket stub saying he played at my dad's folk club a month to the day before I was born, which I thought was a nice bit of sentimental memorabilia. Ah well!

    6 Jun 2011 Reply
  • musrum

    Underrated

    28 Nov 2010 Reply
  • mlansman

    so very brilliant...

    12 Sep 2009 Reply
  • TowerFestival

    As part of the TOWER FESTIVAL, WOMAD Presents World Music at the Tower will take place over the weekend of 19th – 20th September at the historic and prestigious TOWER OF LONDON. WOMAD PRESENTS is a series of performances from artists woven together from all over the world. Performing on Saturday 19th are the Imagined Village featuring a stellar cast including Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy and Chris Wood will perform a thrilling live show. The ubiquitous Womad flags and workshops will also be a feature of the weekend. Other special guests for the Saturday and Sunday shows are to be announced shortly. Doors 3.30pm. Weekend tickets available. For more details go to www.towerfestival.com / 0844 847 2519

    11 Apr 2009 Reply
  • yosh2008

    Love it.

    3 Feb 2009 Reply
  • michaelmasdaisy

    he has the spookiest voice. fantastic.

    22 Nov 2008 Reply
  • ihavesoldout

    shame shame

    11 Jul 2008 Reply
  • ilovestarburst

    I'm disappointed at the lack of comments and plays! What a shame.

    1 Jun 2008 Reply
  • Lilian_6

    Martin, qué grande eres (^_^)

    12 Nov 2006 Reply

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