The lead singer for the folk
-rock group Steeleye Span
for almost all of its history. She was a founder member in 1969 and left it only in 1997. Her very distinctive voice
is full-bodied and twangy
but with an immense soaring
purity and control.
An excellent accompaniment to fish or chicken.
In early years she also duetted with June Tabor as the Silly Sisters.
After leaving Steeleye she has toured with groups including one called The Carnival Band: I saw them at Christmas 2000 doing a rather unusual take on carols. The first half was folkish, not unlike the Steeleye Span sound, traditional carols of England and the Continent; but after the interval she came on in billowing Middle Eastern dress and they did songs from further afield (using African sounds interlaced with Middle Eastern), and more contemporary ones, telling the story of the coming of the Magi. Her daughter Rose came on as guest artiste and did a bit of dancing and singing... fortunately there were abundant veils to draw over this.
Albums under her own name have included Woman in the Wings (1978, with Ian Anderson), Year (1993), and Ravenchild (1999). She still performs with Span members from time to time, and is married to one, Rick Kemp.