THEY continue to be one of the most talked about quartets on the music scene, managing to maintain their folk roots while delighting the mainstream.
The talents of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset are scarcely new to this area.
They’ve been delighting audiences hear for years, first with family visits to Holmfirth Folk Festival and more recently in their own right as an exciting quartet.
Now you can hear them at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, where the band plays the main stage next Friday at 8pm. It promises to be one of the events of the season.
Rachel and younger sister Becky are from a North-East family steeped in folk tradition.
It is thanks to those family links that they have been turning up regularly in the Holme Valley and why they chose to debut their first album at Holmfirth.
That album, Cruel Sister, was named Mojo Magazine Folk Album Of The Year two years ago.
The band has now released a second album, The Bairns, which is already causing huge interest.
It is one of the reasons why the band is on tour, promoting an album which Mojo has already chosen as its folk album of the month.
And Rock’n’Reel said it was “quite possibly the folk album of this generation”.
The band comprises Rachel and Becky, Niopha Keegan on fiddle and charismatic Huddersfield pianist Belinda O’Hooley.
Niopha shares the collective background of traditional music which seems to be in the veins of the other three.
She comes from a family of innovative second generation musicians and singers brought up in the cultural melting pot of the London Irish scene.
They include her brother, the renowned flautist Niall Keegan.
Belinda has long been recognised as one of the area’s musical stars.
Though rooted in the Colne Valley she comes from a long line of musicians originating in Ireland. Her uncle is multi-instrumentalist Tony Howley and at least two of her cousins have musical pedigrees.
Her cousin, Colm O’Donnell, leads the successful Border Collie Band and another cousin, Tommy Fleming, has mapped out a successful solo singing career since leaving Irish super-group De Danaan.
Belinda has worked with Rachel and Winterset for some time, but also shares her talents on stage with other artists, including Scottish writer and singer Horse McDonald. They played the LBT to great acclaim this year.
Many music fans feel that the shared traditional background of all four Winterset musicians anchors their adventures into other musical areas.
This is a quartet which in performance has humour and warmth and sells out virtually everywhere it goes.
Tickets for Friday’s show are £10 (concessions £8) from the box office on 01484 430258.