By night, Fay Hield has men gripped in a curious whirlwind of clandestine adventure and exploration.
By day, Hield is a Teaching Associate in Ethnomusicology at Sheffield University.
The Northern character and her own team of merry men unravel timeworn tales of folklore and allusion, scattering tones and grades of sensitivity and melancholia.
In light of her guise, Hield yields an endearing scroll of talent more vivacious than the trees of Sherwood Forest. Various accolades in hand, including a nomination for the Horizon Award at 2010’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and a completed PhD thesis “English Folk Singing and the Construction of Community”, Hield engages with insight and aptitude. Most notably, ambitious 13th Century Greek fable ‘Sir Orfeo’ uncovers pioneering levels, combined with traditional vocals. Called by triumphant tones of fanfare, it is easy to picture a further team of merry men jigging along in support of Fay Hield & The Hurricane upon a live performance of ‘Sir Orfeo’.
Accompanied by partner and beloved Bellowhead frontman, John Boden, the troop commit to “the music of the people”. Rejecting the drums, bass and guitar, Hield tells of “people reacting with each other to make amazing music”.
Hield’s sweet vocals, juxtaposed with undertones of a darkly comic mood, stir a murkier lead in ‘Naughty Baby’. ‘Naughty Baby’ warns of mother Bonaparte destroying the child limb from limb and eating him “in one gulp” if the infant doesn’t fall silent. Although far from the standard guidance of contemporary babysitters, there is a somewhat consensus for the sentiment of finally snapping with defeat at a crying baby. Fay Hield commits to muse with “elements belonging to others or surrounding people”, travelling through time with tales of individuals and relationships reborn with a reminiscence that feels no more than a day old.
Tickets for Fay Hield & The Hurricane at Exeter Phoenix on Wednesday 27th March can be obtained by phoning 01392 667080 or by clicking here.
Preview by Laura Potter