Folk queen Maddy Prior heading back to Bolton

Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span

Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span

First published in News
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The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , entertainment reporter

FOLK queen Maddy Prior is bringing sounds inspired by the work of fantasy novelist Sir Terry Pratchett to Bolton.

Fresh from her gig at Bromley Cross’ Railway Venue last month, the singer will be at The Albert Halls on Thursday, May 22, with folk rock band Steeleye Span.

Having collaborated with Sir Terry on album Wintersmith, the performance will see Steeleye Span perform new gems alongside the classics that make the group one of the most successful British folk bands ever.

Maddy said: “We wrote the album with Terry Pratchett, based on his books. Well, on some of his books, not all of them — that would be a long album.

“There’s a series of books he wrote about Tiffany Aching.

“It’s a sort of Discworld but it’s one of the characters, it’s much more personal to him.”

The pair worked together in 2013, following the best-selling comic fantasy fiction writer’s diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in 2007.

Maddy said: “I think it kind of goes up and down. It’s a particular sort, it’s more to do with function and physical things rather than mental.

“It’s frustrating for him. He is still writing.”

It was as a schoolgirl that Maddy’s love of music first blossomed before she went on to become the lead vocalist of Steeleye Span in 1969, who celebrate their 45th anniversary this year.

The 66-year-old, originally from Blackpool who now lives in Cumbria, said: “We were children really, it’s an interesting perspective that you get as time goes on.

“I quite like that.

“You wouldn’t do it differently because you didn’t know.

“You do think that youth is wasted on the young but, at the same time, that’s what’s delightful.”

With 45 years in the industry, Maddy also shares her expertise with wannabe singers after embarking on a three year course to teach classes.

She said: “I’m learning about something I think I know about.

“It’s quite interesting to look at the voice with sets of rules, what it’s technically doing.”

And aside from her singing classes and touring, Maddy continues to enjoy losing herself in writing.

She said: “There is something about creating that is delightful to do.

“You lose yourself completely in it.

“Creativity comes in many different forms.

“We kind of glorify writing and music and art and things but everyone creates.

“You create when you make a home, it’s exactly the same sort of thing.

“Some people really spend a lot of time and thought on their homes, how they put things together and the colours. For them, it’s a work of art.“

The Bolton Steeleye Span date is just one of a handful of gigs which will also see the band visit Ireland for three nights.

With the departure of fiddle player and long-standing member Peter Knight, the band has recruited Jessie May Smart — a young and vibrant talent who trained with Richard Ireland at Trinity College of Music before going onto The University of Nottingham and whose CV includes working on The X Factor and with Katie Melua.

Steeleye Span: 45th Anniversary Tour will be at the Albert Halls on May 22, phone 01204 334400 for tickets.

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