“It hits you in your soul rather than your head. I love them” says Adrian Edmondson. On Wednesday night The Unthanks did just that with an astounding set in the Telegraph tent. From the very first song, Hawthorn, they were mesmerising. Both Rachel and Becky Unthank have pure haunting, soulful voices which blended with the exquisite trumpet playing of Victoria Rule of The Amadè Players.
The music is sweet but also dark. “You had the choice tonight between the misery of Jack Dee, or the deep, deep misery of The Unthanks” said pianist and the group’s manager Adrian McNally, “you people need to take a long hard look at yourselves.” The songs are powerful and the exceptional voices are coupled with fine musicianship including Niopha Keegan on violin and backing vocals with Chris Price on bass.
The new album ‘Mount the Air’ is available now – you can order it here.
Music becomes a more important feature of the Hay Festival every year. Last year the organisers unveiled a new music venue near the town centre at the Castle ground and about a mile away from the main in Dairy Meadows just outside the town. The festival has seen several major music acts perform over the year including Bob Geldof, Laura Marling and PJ Harvey. Noah and the Whale fronted by Marling’s erstwhile squeeze Charlie Fink, will be at the Hay Festival this year, performing on the opening night of May 23rd.
The appearance forms part of their UK tour which will follow the release of a new album, Heart of Nowhere, on May 6th. The album is the band’s fourth record and follows 2011’s platinum-selling Last Night On Earth. The band’s full line up is Charlie Fink on vocals and guitar, Tom Hobden on violin, Urby Whale on bass, Fred Abbott on guitar and Michael Petulla on drums.
With the arrival of the SoundCastle this year, music figures ever larger at the Hay Festival. On that note the organisers are about to announce that BBC Radio 1 and Sunday Best DJ, Rob da Bank will host the Hay Festival’s 25th anniversary birthday party on Saturday Saturday 9 June at Clyro Court. The Wrap Party is billed for midnight and guaranteed to go on until the small hours.
Rob’s musical taste is eclectic and if the party is anything like his shows you might hear anything from stripped down motorway techno to woozy weird folk or electro covers of David Bowie. Tickets are now on sale click here.
Hay will have a new music venue for the 2012 Festival. The venue will be near the town centre at the Castle ground, the site occupied in recent years by Giffords Circus. The site has been used to host a tented venue by the festival before, but hasn’t been used by the festival proper since it moved from the local primary school to the current site in Dairy Meadows a mile outside the town.
Whilst it is more famous for its literature the festival has seen major established musical acts perform as well ground-breaking performers. Bob Geldof, Laura Marling, Hot Chip, PJ Harvey, Toumani Diabate, Jools Holland and many more have appeared in recent years.
No musical performers have been officially announced for this year but we can tell you that Paper Aeroplanes, an alternative pop band from Wales who have been compared to Fleetwood Mac and The Cranberries, will be there. There’s also a rumour that breakthrough British jazz singer Zara McFarlane might be on the bill. Sadly the new venue means no Giffords Circus this time round.