Laura Cannell is a British composer, fiddler and recorder player. She is the founder member of the innovative folk and early duo Horses Brawl.
Playing fiddle, overbowed fiddle, double recorders, sometimes percussion and other rarefied wind instruments, Cannell draws on ancient transcendental and earthly musics. Her sense of space, dynamics and working with acoustics is super sensitive. Whether solo or otherwise she explores the spaces between ancient, traditional and improvised music, often utilising a fragment from a medieval theme to her own end in a manner that embraces the apparitional, historical or the otherworldly. Her seemingly wild side, in such rarefied circles makes her involved yet emotive music really bristle and connect.
Cannell’s style has evolved out of long self-taught sessions alongside dedicated training as well employing her very open approach to join the dots with contemporary music makers. Her time in the highly regarded Horses Brawl duo, as well as her Early Music church missions, has formed a musical backbone on which she can now move into new pastures. Her live music show finds her performing improvisations on ‘over-bowed’ fiddle and double-barrelled recorders creating spell-binding new interpretations and breathing new life into lost and forgotten melodies from the 5th – 14th centuries.
Cannell’s exquisitely-realised solo album Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth was released in July 2014. Haunting chords move the heavy air of the church as fiddle drones drift across the flatlands of East Anglia. Recorded in single takes in a small medieval church in rural South Norfolk, UK, the ten tracks feature atmospheric improvisations around tunes played on fiddle with a deconstructed bow (taken apart and wrapped around the violin) and double barrelled recorders (two recorders played at once and based on images in medieval paintings and sculptures).
Open to collaboration and new contexts, Cannell also performs in an experimental fiddle duo with André Bosman (aka electronic musician Hoofus) and a new trio Oscilanz with Ralph Cumbers (aka Bass Clef) and renowned drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat, About Group). Cannell’s album with harp player Rhodri Davies ‘Feathered Swing of the Raven’ is a wonderful tonal piece. Cannell animates double barrelled recorders (the renaissance alto and baroque soprano), while Rhodri draws a double bow across the harp, making it sound like a cello. Together, they fill the sonic field, often coming across like a quartet. Live appearances have included festivals as diverse as Supernormal, The Aldeburgh Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Brighton Early Music Festival and many others.
Following the release of Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth, Brawl Records released an exclusive digital only album where musicians took to remixing her tracks. Included are Luke Abbott, Bass Clef, Hoofus, Kemper Norton, Ekoplekz and Hacker Farm.
Cannell founded the independent record label Brawl Records in 2005.
Cannell studied at the London College of Music graduating with 1st class honours (Performance) and for her Masters at the University of East Anglia. She is the founder member of the innovative folk and early duo Horses Brawl have performed at the UK’s top music and arts festivals for nearly a decade. She has appeared live in concert on BBC Radio 3 including performances on Late Junction, The Early Music Show and In Tune. She has also appeared on ITV, Sky Arts and BBC Four. She has released five albums to critical acclaim and was described as “A Virtuoso Magpie Musician” by The Times. www.lauracannell.co.uk
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