Fay Hield


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About Fay Hield

Born and raised in West Yorkshire, folk artist and academic Fay Hield seemed destined to carve a career in traditional folk music. With her father playing in the famous Bacca Pipes Folk Club in Keighley, Hield and her sister were taken under the club member's wings when their mother passed away, forming a bond of community and tradition that would go on to inspire. While at university in Newcastle studying for a Bachelor of Music in folk and traditional music, she helped form the a cappella folk quartet the Witches of Elswick in 2001. The quartet disbanded after six years together, and Hield took time out of the folk scene for a few years. In 2009, after a move to the fringes of Sheffield with her partner, fellow folk musician Jon Boden, Hield returned to performing as part of a trio with English Acoustic Collective's Rob Habron and Bellowhead's Sam Sweeney, playing obscure and rarely performed traditional folk songs. Released on Topic Records in 2010, her debut album, Looking Glass, featured a mix of traditional songs and ballads. In 2010 she also completed her Ph.D. in English folk singing and the construction of community at Sheffield University. Hield's second album, Orfeo, came two years later in 2012, and saw her backed by the Hurricane Party, consisting of Jon Boden, Rob Habron, Sam Sweeney, Andy Cutting, and Martin Simpson. That year she also started lecturing in music at the University of Sheffield, specializing in folk music and its shaping of community. The following year Hield helped put together the folk supergroup the Full English, conceived to celebrate the bringing together of folk song collections by the English Folk Song and Dance Society through creation of the most comprehensive and searchable database of British folk songs, tunes, dances, and customs. After two years of touring with the supergroup, Hield returned to focus on her third proper album. Utilizing the skills of the Hurricane Party as her backing, she was also joined by members of the Full English to record 2016's Old Adam. ~ Rich Wilson

West Yorkshire, England
February 4, 1978

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