Folk Bands and Artists
The Rheingans Sisters
Fiddle-singers Rowan and Anna grew up in the Peak District, surrounded by traditional music and encouraged to pick up the fiddle by their violin-maker father from an early age. Both professional musicians, Rowan is well known on the English folk music scene as part of hugely popular BBC Folk Award nominated trio Lady Maisery as well as for her work with Nancy Kerr & The Sweet Visitor Band. She also composes for theatre and is part of the ‘Songs of Separation’ super-group alongside Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart, amongst others. Anna lives in Toulouse, in southern France, where she is a much sought after fiddle player and teacher of french music traditions, in which she has fast become an expert, having just gained a 1st class diploma from the Conservatioire Occitan. As both sisters have also spent a significant amount of time studying fiddle music in Scandinavia, they pull a range of influences from both the northern and southern European fiddle traditions into their own compositions and arrangements.
The Rheingans Sisters’ debut album Glad Gold Hearts was released on Rootbeat Records in June 2013 to wide critical acclaim. Songlinesdescribed them as “musical miscegenation with unabashed confidence, a duo of considerable abilities and imaginations to match” and nominated Rowan and Anna for Best Group and Best Newcomer in the Songlines Music Awards. fRoots called Glad Gold Hearts ‘a subtle gem’ and ran a feature on the Rheingans Sisters which described “vocal harmonies to die for on an album performed with compelling conviction and disarming warmth”.
Their second album Already Home, recorded over just five days in a remote forest studio in mid-Wales, is an enticing, thoughtful and adventurous record that quickly caused a stir when it was released in November 2015. Amongst a flurry of fantastic reviews The Independent called Already Home ‘superb’, fRoots described it as“quite simply extraordinary” and Folk Radio UK said it is “not only a beautiful and exceptional record, but an important one”. It was one of 10 albums nominated in ‘2015 fRoots Critics Poll Album of the Year’ and was awarded a Songlines ‘Top of the World’ album.
In this second album, Rowan and Anna wanted to explore the links between music rooted in different places, between old songs and new and between two players of distinct style and reference. Already Home is a record in the original sense of the word: this is a record of musicians playing together and responding to each other in a particular place and at a particular time. And as Anna and Rowan Rheingans spend most of their time living far apart, immersed in separate musical worlds, it is also about the particular connection and reconnection of two sisters. In addition to their duelling fiddles and voices, the album (produced by the sisters themselves) features a rich tapestry of banjo, bansitar, viola, kantele, feet, percussion as well as innovative use of field recordings including bird song, rain and ocean. As well as traditional material, it also features six original tracks as Rowan showcases her songwriting and Anna her beguiling compositions.