Norma Waterson on vocals, her husband Martin Carthy on guitar and vocals and their daughter Eliza Carthy on fiddle and vocals. Rest in Peace, Norma. Thank you for the songs.
Tributes are paid to the acclaimed singer, a member of British folk music’s “most famous family”.
Renowned singer Norma Waterson – matriarch of the “royal family of British folk music” – has died.
Norma, brother Mike, sister Lal formed The Watersons in the 1960s, achieving critical acclaim for their work.
The 82-year-old, from Hull, had been unable to perform for years due to illness and had been in hospital with pneumonia.
Her daughter, the musician Eliza Carthy, announced her mother’s death with “monumental sadness” on Sunday.
Alongside cousin John Harrison the three siblings started to perform at venues around Hull in the 1960s and went on to become a celebrated folk group.
With their traditional songs and close harmonies they were “long considered the royal family of British folk music”, according to the New York Times.
The combined Waterson/Carthy family has long been a fixture of the UK folk music scene, with Martin Carthy, Norma’s Husband, twice winning BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year Award.
Singer Billy Bragg was among fellow musicians to pay tribute, and said his thoughts were “with Martin and Eliza and the rest of the family”.
A plaque to the late Lal Waterson, Norma’s sister, was unveiled in September on a house in Hull where she once lived. Many family members were present and sang at the event.
Eliza Carthy and her two children moved back to her North Yorkshire home to help care for her mother more than a decade ago.
Norma, the eldest Watersons sibling, survived both Lal Waterson, who died in 1998, and Mike Waterson, who died in 2011.
The folk musician Eliza Carthy has asked fans for financial support to aid her parents, celebrated musicians Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, after their income from live performances “dried up” during the Covid-19 crisis.
Waterson has long been unable to perform owing to illness, Eliza wrote on the fundraising website Ko-Fi, and is currently hospitalised with pneumonia.
“Right now the Carthy family, as many others, is struggling to survive the pandemic,” wrote Eliza, who moved closer to her parents 11 years ago in order to help care for Waterson.
“They urgently need funds to tide them over until the pandemic lifts and Martin and Eliza can return to touring and again become self-sufficient.”
Martin Carthy, 80, is one of the most influential musicians in British folk. He has released more than 40 albums as a solo artist, a member of Steeleye Span and the Albion Country Band, in collaboration with the late fiddle player Dave Swarbrick and with his wife and daughter as Waterson-Carthy.
In 2014, he received the lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. He was named “arguably the greatest English folk song performer, writer, collector and editor of them all” by Q magazine, and inspired peers such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon.
Waterson, 82, is one of the original members of traditional group the Watersons and a collaborator with Richard Thompson and members of Pentangle along with her family members. She received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards lifetime achievement prize in 2016.
In December, UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak about “the devastating impact the growth of the omicron variant is having on the UK music industry”.
Many musicians have felt no choice but to postpone their immediate forthcoming tours given uncertainty over safety, including UK bands Wolf Alice and Blossoms, despite a lack of government support for cancelled events.
A UK Music report published in October said that one in three jobs in the UK music industry were lost during the preceding 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Martin and Eliza Carthy are due to play live throughout the UK this winter, with an intermittent run of dates kicking off in Durham on 27 January. Eliza wrote that she had recorded a new album during the pandemic, proceeds from which would also help the family.
More than 2,500 people had supported the Carthy campaign at the time of publication. “I am a long-standing folk traditionalist,” wrote supporter Stephen Lyons. “Where would we be without these two? Eh? Love to them.”
The famed producer Van Dyke Parks also voiced his support on Twitter: “I am asking all who can help to contribute. These two are the key to what’s left of Celtic culture –and innocence – in the UK. I admire Martin so … Let’s make this an end-game victory, as a folk dynasty appeals for financial support.”
14:00 Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
14:05 Heidi Talbot
14:20 Seth Lakeman
14:35 Lady Nade
14:50 Kris Drever
15:05 O’Hooley and Tidow
15:20 Chris Wood
15:35 Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
15:40 Bella Hardy
15:55 Sam Lee
16:10 Rachel Newton
16:30 Eliza Carthy
16:45 Beth Porter and the Bookshop Band
17:00 Gwilym Bowen Rhys
17:15 Lisa Knapp and Gerry Diver
17:30 Martin Simpson
17:45 Kerry Andrew/You Are Wolf
18:00 Seckou Keita
18:15 Peggy Seeger
18:30 Kitty Macfarlane
18:45 The Breath
19:00 Steve Knightley
19:15 Karine Polwart
19:35 Jon Boden
19:50 Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
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⌚ Running order (all times GMT and approximate)
This documentary focuses on Eliza Carthy, a singer-songwriter who is bringing traditional music to a new audience. She is the daughter of legendary folk musicians Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson. Her father was awarded an MBE for services to folk music in 1998, which actually seems quite a niggardly gesture when one considers how important a figure he actually is. He was inspirational to such musicians as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and to later musicians such as Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and the Albion Country Band (the last two bands that included him as a member for a time).by Gonzo Music TV