Lisa Knapp first emerged in 2007 with a remarkable debut album, ‘Wild And Undaunted’ and quickly established herself as a highly distinctive, creative artist, merging a radiant style of traditional folk and self-penned song with vocal, fiddle, hammer dulcimer, strings, banjo and contemporary production.
It was a long wait but evidently worth it – the South Londoner’s much anticipated 2nd full length album, Hidden Seam, is finally available from Navigator Records.
Far from idle, Lisa has spent the years between albums exploring her increasing fascination with the elements and our fragile, volatile environment. Though greatly inspired by husband/musical partner Gerry Diver’s own creative journey with his 2011 ‘Speech Project’ album (music based on the speech patterns of Irish traditional singers), Lisa was equally motivated by a love of language – partly through a meeting with Seamus Heaney but also a healthy obsession with the old English text of Beowulf.
Shipping Song, the album’s opening track, arises from Lisa’s fascination with the Met Office’s somnambulant, poetic late night shipping forecast ; its strange and far-away sounding place names, Utsire, Viking, Fastnet and Lundy. A recording of American Marine sound testing from the 1950s was seamlessly sewn into the track, alongside the sounds of sea creatures and spinning motors.
Black Horse is a song by the great, late English singer/songwriter, Lal Waterson, which Lisa was originally invited to perform on tour with Scottish singer and guitarist James Yorkston. Not only does James guest on this recording but Lisa was also thrilled to be joined by Lal’s daughter, Marry Waterson. Lisa plucked up courage to invite Martin Carthy, one of her musical heroes, to accompany her on Two Ravens, a touching song about Alzheimers disease. Seagiver is a visceral song of death and the elements. The penultimate track on Hidden Seam, Hunt the Hare Pt 1, features acclaimed Scottish folk musician, Alasdair Roberts and was originally based on the well known Irish song Rocky Road to Dublin. It evolved into a song about the month of May. On Hushabye, a lullaby style song which she regularly sang to her daughter, Lisa is accompanied by celebrated singer/songwriter, Kathryn Williams.
Hidden Seam is a substantial sonic tapestry. It will swiftly re-establish Lisa Knapp as not only one of the most compelling voices of her generation in British folk music but one of the most innovative. Her roots may be embedded in the great folk revival of the 50’s and 60’s but with this new album, she is setting sail for unchartered horizons.
Lisa has also been nominated in 3 categories for the upcoming BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: Folk Singer Of The Year, Best Album and Best Non-Traditional Track for Two Ravens (which Martin Carthy played on).