The Poozies

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Now booking | March 13-16, 2015 (UK); November 18-29, 2015 (UK); 2015 festivals

The Poozies began their auspicious odyssey twenty-one years ago, when folk music wore elaborately patterned woolly jumpers and was only seen in dingy back rooms and very late at night on BBC2 - yet from the word “go” they were breaking out and happily exploring the musical universe. Pioneers of unusual and exciting arrangements, not only from the rich vein of traditional Gaelic culture but from any enticing genre, they take their audiences on a sparkling, spine-tingling journey through a sometimes fantastical landscape.

Sally Barker is from Leicestershire, and before founding the Poozies in 1990 was already an award-winning song-writer and a well-established and respected singer of folk, blues, jazz and a touch of heavy-metal. Her second solo album, This Rhythm Is Mine, was awarded a four star review by Q Magazine, and she's supported many famous headliners in her time, including Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Jimmy Nail and Richard Thompson. Her most recent project has been a tribute to Joni Mitchell, which has delighted both her own fans and those of the great songstress herself.

Mary Macmaster (also a founding member) comes from Glasgow originally, but moved to Edinburgh to study and never left. She has long been recognised as one of the world's leading exponents and innovators of both the metal-strung clarsach and the Camac electro-harp, and has constantly been in demand as a session musician and singer, appearing on albums by Dick Gaughan, Norma Waterson, Kathryn Tickell and Sting. Yes, Sting - the one from The Police. Mary joined Sting for his beautiful album If on a Winter’s Night, after the release of which they toured the world, and performed live on Later with Jools Holland. Mary is also one part of what is surely a unique duo of harp and drums with the peerless Donald Hay, of Mystery Juice.

Eilidh Shaw, from Taynuilt on the West Coast of Scotland, joined The Poozies in 1999, having deputised with them, on two occasions, for two different members of the band - Kate Rusby and Patsy Seddon. From a musical family, she cut her teeth on the Scottish Dance Band circuit, having been brought up heavily immersed in the ceilidh and house party tradition. In 1997 she made a 'solo' album with many guest musicians, namely Ian Carr, Donald Hay, Brian Kellock and Simon Bradley, and from there went on to feature in many great groups, including John Rae's Celtic Feet, Keep It Up, Harem Scarem and The Unusual Suspects.

Mairearad Green is the newest member of The Poozies and comes from the stunning peninsula of Achiltibuie in Wester Ross. Although regularly out gigging with multi-instrumentalist Anna Massie, as well as bands such as The Unusual Suspects and Box Club, Mairearad is arguably best known for her composition work. Her 2009 commission Passing Places (written for Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival) earned her a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd it the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and a five-star review from The Scotsman. She also picked up that year's Composer of the Year award at the Scots Trad Music Awards.

The Poozie recipe is a fragrant casserole of inventive interpretations, creative collaborations and melodic mastery, sprinkled with the spice of open-mindedness. The passion of Sally Barker’s vivid voice is reinforced by the percussive power of her rock solid guitar; irresistible energy bursts from Eilidh Shaw’s faultless fiddle and Mairearad Green’s delicately dexterous accordion; all is dramatically grounded by the growling groove of Mary Macmaster’s capacious Camac electro harp; and magnificently rounded off by the blending of four voices in heart-wrenching harmony. They have been described as the "UK's finest all-female outfit" and "Britain’s premiere Celtic roots all-woman super-group."

  • "....a force to be reckoned with on the traditional folk scene...fantastic vocal harmonies and spectacular instrumentals." Lori Gordon, Folk Radio UK
  • "Altogether a tour de force."Jennie Macfie, Hi-Arts