Maddy Prior is one of the great voices of English folk song. There is a richness and a sweetness of tone in her singing but there is life and laughter and joy in it, too – she is a true storyteller. Listen to the way she swoops in under a note, the way she holds back before dropping a word in perfectly – playing around with the tempo ever so slightly to introduce just enough tension into the song.
She says she doesn’t play any instruments except the spoons and the tambourine – but she doesn’t need to – her voice is her instrument.
Her early work with the late Tim Hart resulted the seminal albums, Folk Songs Of Olde England and Summer Solstice – both still a benchmark in English folk song and both recorded when she was not long out of school. She went on, with Tim, to be one of the founder members of Steeleye Span and has been with that band ( with a small interlude) to the present day. Her voice is the voice of Steeleye and over the years, with them, she has made some of the finest folk rock albums ever.
Her work with June Tabor as the Silly Sisters produced a body of wonderful songs and lately, with The Carnival Band, Maddy has delved into, and celebrated, the ritual and seasonal songs of these islands. Her songwriting is often overlooked – yet with albums like Woman In The Wings she proved to be a perceptive creator of finely crafted songs.
Currently, as well as touring and making albums, Maddy is running creative courses from her home in Cumbria.