Why limit yourself to a label?
That’s the mantra of Twelfth Day, the duo that has been challenging its broad spectrum of listeners with its genre-bending music for almost a decade.
Though Catriona Price’s violin and Esther Swift’s pedal harp remain the front and centre of their sound, and the mastery of their instruments is evident, Twelfth Day draws from a more expansive palette than the number of instruments might suggest, leaving a lasting impact on the listener.
Catriona and Esther challenge each other to challenge us. It can be heard in the way that they push their vocals far beyond the boundaries of what may be anticipated from two young women with high voices. It can be heard in the way the violin and harp surprise each other to drive the track somewhere new. It can be heard in the lyrics that invite us to reassess, reimagine, reinterpret.
Though Twelfth Day wear their rich and varied experience with pride – their folk roots, their classical training – they are more than a simple product, an exponent, of their practice. It is their inherent curiosity, their need to understand through experimentation, that compels them to reach for new ways and means.
It results in music that combines their technical proficiency and deep knowledge of their instruments with their desire to make soulful, meaningful and intuitive music, that you would expect from musicians who have grown up learning music by ear; passing, trading and improvising with musicians from other genres, other cultures.
Twelfth Day’s latest album, Face to Face (2019), was nominated in the ‘Innovation in New Traditional Music’ category of the Scottish Awards for New Music.
by Sophie Parkes