The Askew Sisters
Emily and Hazel have made a name for themselves on the folk scene with their inspired arrangements of traditional music; from their striking renditions of songs and ballads, to their dynamic interpretations of dance tunes. The sisters also perform in the Medieval/Renaissance band The Artisans. Emily studied early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and regularly plays at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and with the Dufay Collective.·Hazel is in BBC Folk Award nominated·vocal trio·Lady Maisery·and her·powerful vocals won her Best Female Singer in the 2011 Spiral Earth Awards. The sisters were twice semi-finalists in the BBC Young Folk Awards.
Emily Askew is an extremely versatile musician playing fiddle, recorders, vielle (medieval fiddle), bagpipes and shawm. Her interests are wide and varied reaching from the deep roots of folk music through to Medieval, Baroque and contemporary repertoire.
Folk music has always been a big part of Emily’s life starting from the days she joined the Hobby Horse Club at the grand age of 3! This involved lots of dancing, and singing about things like pigs and socks! At the age of 15 she decided to teach herself the fiddle and it is now her main instrument in the duo.
Emily studied early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and graduated with a first class honours BMus. She also received the Dove Memorial Prize for the highest BMUS mark in her year.
In addition to her duo with the Askew Sisters, Emily plays with a range of early music ensembles. These include medieval and renaissance groups: The Artisans, The Dufay Collective and Blondel. She also enjoys collaborations between different art forms. Recent work includes Yonec, the Dufay Collective's Puppet project, A Long Walk Home with contemporary dancers choreographed by Darren Ellis and Walk the Way – The Artisans' collaboration with poets Paulina Vauderbilt and Lucy Aykroyd.
Emily is also interested in opera and theatre. She has performed as principal recorder at Glyndebourne and as a multi-instrumentalist in productions for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Hampstead Players.
Hazel Askew is now known for her singing and melodeon playing, but she started her musical education on the specialist music scheme at Pimlico School, where she studied flute, concert harp, voice and piano. However her interest in folk music meant she spent a lot of her spare time playing in sessions, workshops as well as for Morris, Rapper and Appalachian dance teams. She started studying folk flute with Sarah Allen of Flook and took part in Ethno England and Flanders, teaching and learning from other young musicians from Europe and beyond. Then one day she decided it was time to learn a "big, loud instrument" so taught herself the melodeon (much to the dismay of her neighbours). The combination of fiddle and melodeon proved very successful so she then decided to start singing as well. She became very interested in traditional song, loving the brilliant stories and characters.
Hazel began researching songs from old books and recordings, becoming particularly inspired by strong singers such as Frankie Armstrong and Peter Bellamy, and the way they told the story. Perhaps this shows in her voice which itself has been described as "powerful", "rich" and "captivating”.
She recently started new band - Lady Maisery - a vocal harmony trio with Hannah James (Kerfuffle, The Demon Barbers) and Rowan Rheingans (Fidola). Inspired by folk singing traditions of the UK and northern Europe, Lady Maisery sing songs and ballads both unaccompanied and with backing from their combined instrumental talents on accordion, harp and fiddle – www.ladymaisery.com.
Hazel recently finished her degree in English Literature with Music at Newcastle University, where she won the Harry Clews Prize for highest final recital mark. Apart from her work on the folk scene, Hazel also sings and plays the harp with medieval ensemble The Artisans, with which she performs regularly in London and recently sung live with on BBC Radio 3. (The Artisans gave the first concert for TEMS in its 2011-12 season).
In 2010 Hazel was chosen as a soloist for Brighton Early Music Festival's world première of DeadHead, a specially commissioned work by Orlando Gough and poet John Agard. Last summer, she composed the score and musically directed a production of King Lear for Shakespeare in Styria, as well as a production of Antony and Cleopatra for London's Hampstead Players.