Singer and multi-instrumentalist Anna Tam gives traditional British songs her own loving personal twist. She sings with a clear bright voice and accompanies herself on a selection of traditional and historical string instruments including the nyckelharpa, viola da gamba, hurdy gurdy, cello, piano and whatever else she can find. Her approach to the folk tradition is centred in the stories the songs tell and the people who lived them. Creating arrangements that are stripped back, unique, natural and timeless she weaves together a set that takes the audience on a journey, as much through her emotive string playing as her voice.
Shortlisted as ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ by Fatea Magazine in 2020 and 2021, Anna released her debut solo album Anchoress in Spring 2021 to critical acclaim and is preparing to release her second album Hatching Hares in June 2022.
Hatching Hares was written whilst we were coming out of isolation; daring to hope and starting to have a little fun again. There are more people in the songs than in Anchoress. They interact, grieve, fall in love, go to the fair, sew, spin, steal, joke, die and sober up. The title comes from the fourth verse of ‘When I Was A Little Girl’: ‘I bought myself a little hen and of her I took great care, I set her on a mussel shell and she hatched me out a hare.’ Instrumentally it includes the piano on her boat as well as viola da gamba, nyckelharpa, cello and hurdy gurdy and welcomes two special guests – fiddler Geoffrey Irwin (also on Anchoress) and electronic sound artist srah who worked with samples of Anna’s singing and playing on the ghost song ‘Holland Handkerchief’.
There are ten songs and five tunes: two self-written waltzes and the rest traditional. The songs were trialled and explored on her weekly YouTube series Folk from the Boat.
During lockdown in March 2020 Anna began the YouTube series ‘Folk from the Boat’, and she continues to bring audiences weekly songs, tunes and adventures from her canal boat. Now, out of lockdown, she is storming the British Folk scene with her mesmerising voice and instruments. Anna recently joined Paul Hutchinson (Belshazzar’s Feast) and Karen Wimhurst to form the folk group Coracle which are launching in 2022, and she formed the trio Wilde Roses in 2017 to pursue her passionate enthusiasm for researching and performing historical folk music. The group have toured in the US and Europe and released two albums to critical acclaim, their second ‘Woven’ on the Rubicon Classics label.
Between 2013 and 2016, Anna was part of early choral ensemble, Mediaeval Baebes with whom she has toured worldwide, made both national and international TV appearances and several recordings. During her early classical studies she performed on cello at the Wigmore Hall, London and sang at St Mark’s Basilica, Venice as well as touring and making TV appearances in the UK, Canada and Europe. Whilst at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama she performed several times on BBC Radio 3; and as a folk and early music performer has since appeared on BBC2’s ‘The Culture Show’, and gave the premiere of two previously unknown arias by Vivaldi on BBC1’s ‘Britain’s Hidden Heritage’.
Anna lives on her beautiful boat just outside London gaining inspiration from the woods and the river.
Hatching Hares album launch concerts
20 May at Burton Folk Club, Derbyshire
11 June at The Ale House, Herefordshire https://pindropevents.co.uk/66
4 July at The Green Note, London
Artist’s website: annatam.co.uk
‘Sleep Soond Ida Mornin” – official video: