Rachel Unthank and The Winterset

United Kingdom

Forging links between folk worlds old, new and other, Rachel and her set have blown a bracing northeasterly gale through traditional English song, casting it in an endlessly inventive and playful new mould. Transcendent and grounded music folds around unsentimental old, new and imaginatively borrowed stories of booze, brawls, abuse, loss, fear, infantile death, depravity, and sorrow

Described as "a bewitching, dream-like, down-to-earth masterpiece" in the Observer Music Magazine's Top 50 Albums of 2007, The Bairns is already a classic in its own lifetime, featuring as either the top or only folk album in every 2007 end-of-year poll it featured in. Dancing down the leftfield and singing in their own lilting Geordie accents, Rachel Unthank & The Winterset are the "inheritors, curators and gleeful distorters" (Ian MacMillan) of Tyneside's traditions. Discreetly provocative arrangements draw on elements of blues, jazz, music hall, burlesque cabaret, classical, and leftfield contemporary music, making their take on folk music peerless, fearless and wholeheartedly brave.

Fans as disparate as Robert Wyatt, Kate Rusby, Paul Morley, Nic Jones, Phil Jupitus and Joan As Policewoman have joined the chorus of adulation from the press. The group's debut album Cruel Sister won Mojo Folk Album of the Year, and their Real World release, The Bairns was described as "utterly gorgeous" by The Guardian and as "a work of towering quality" by The Telegraph. Rachel Unthank & The Winterset were nominated for Best Group, Best Live Act, Best Album and The Horizon Award at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards, winning the Horizon Award.

The Bairns was shortlisted for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.