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.”