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Rachel Unthank & The Winterset


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Northumberland, United Kingdom (2004 – 2009)

Rachel Unthank & the Winterset (formed in 2004 and since 2009 known simply as The Unthanks) are an English folk group from Northumberland, known for their eclectic approach in combining traditional English folk with other musical genres

Rachel Unthank, and sister Becky, were raised in an environment permeated with music and folk song. Both of their parents are singers, and the sisters have been attending and performing at folk festivals for as long as they can remember. Later joined by two additional musicians ‘Rachel Unthank & The Winterset’ came into being, and released an award-winning début album. Pianist / singer Belinda O’Hooley played an important part in pushing the harmonies, textures and sounds of the group beyond the usual folk boundaries, which rapidly made them stand out among their peers. Fiddle and vocals on their first album, ‘Cruel Sister’, were provided by Jackie Oates.

‘Cruel Sister’ was an excellent folk album; however, it is dwarfed as an achievement by its successor, ‘The Bairns’. The lineup only changed by Niopha Keegan replacing Oates (who launched a highly successful solo career); but this is a much more confident, in some ways difficult, but compelling record. Originals appeared for the first time alongside traditional material and unexpected covers from elsewhere. ‘The Bairns’ picked up a Mercury nomination and the band surged to greater renown on the back of it and a relentless live schedule.

However, a little while later, O’Hooley decided to leave (she has since released solo material and formed the duo O’Hooley & Tidow)


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  • yakkowarner

    I'll say it again, Any chance of combining with "The Unthanks" ? Goodnight.

    30 May 2014 Reply
  • muymechuda


    12 Aug 2012 Reply
  • muymechuda

    Hasta ahora las encuentro suenan genial

    12 Aug 2012 Reply
  • yakkowarner

    Any chance of combining with "The Unthanks" ?

    8 Jul 2012 Reply
  • wingsoftoast

    why don't they ever give the mercury award to jazz, folk or classical artists? no disrespect to Elbow - but this is in a different league....

    10 Feb 2010 Reply
  • benwalker1981

    We want a support slot!! - see what you think...

    29 Oct 2009 Reply
  • pezza5

    sligo 7 feb what a nightmare for the band, competing with a noisy and pissed 60th birthday party in the crappy Clarence Hotel. Well done RUTW for getting through it and not walking off. ON behalf of Sligo people sorry for the disrespect. Come back again!

    10 Feb 2009 Reply
  • unico2469

    dito aenimauk.

    12 Dec 2008 Reply
  • hairshirt22

    saw them last night in sheffield and paul morley's right. it doesn't get any better than hearing becky sing wyatt: partly fish, partly porpoise, partly baby sperm whale am I yours? are you mine to play with? think i'll get some of them clogs for christmas.

    8 Dec 2008 Reply
  • akzidenzabsurd

    Fantastic group, not to be missed!

    26 Nov 2008 Reply
  • aenimauk

    If you'd told me before I'd heard this group that anyone could match or maybe even improve on a track from Rock Bottom I'd have laughed in your face. Happy to be proved wrong with 'Sea Song' :)

    12 Nov 2008 Reply
  • Ravensthorpe

    If you think you like them now wait till you see them live. Do not miss!

    28 Oct 2008 Reply
  • mnovack

    Brilliant folk music!

    20 Oct 2008 Reply
  • canda99

    haunting excellence!

    20 Oct 2008 Reply
  • chairdriver


    16 Oct 2008 Reply
  • samhayler

    Streamable? Finally...

    7 Oct 2008 Reply
  • dodoriazarbon

    One of the best finds for me this year!

    29 Sep 2008 Reply
  • easybakecoven

    This group is new to me and I like them!

    29 Sep 2008 Reply
  • tor_rowan

    Saw them at mosely this year! They were great...

    22 Sep 2008 Reply
  • adaam2

    God they are the best outfit i've heard for years

    20 Sep 2008 Reply
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