In the wordless communication that passes between violinist Catriona Price and harpist Esther Swift as they perform, the strength of their decade-long musical partnership, friendship and shared humour is evident. It’s this depth of connection, and tangible desire to have fun, that gives Twelfth Day its extra edge.
Though Twelfth Day wear their rich and varied experience with pride – their folk roots, their classical training – this duo 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 create their unique, genre-bending music.
Their songs confront societal conventions by exploring a wealth of urgent current issues, such as gender roles, power balance and the challenges of working in the arts as a young woman; the threat of climate change and society’s reluctance to act; and the struggles of mental health.
In their new album Face to Face (out November 2019, and their first featuring their full band [with whom they play tonight]) their multi-layered influences come together to create something entirely individual. There’s the radio-friendly catchiness and self-proclaimed respect for Beyoncé; there’s the swagger and surprise of jazz and funk; there’s the precision and technique of classical. The only label to truly hit the high note is ‘contemporary’: Face To Face could only be made now, and only by Twelfth Day.
Genre-blending style that is both edgy and inventive… A bold, intriguing set. ★★★★The Guardian
Unconventional yet completely openClash
Right up my streetTom Robinson, 6 Music
Instantly addictiveMax Reinhardt, BBC Radio 3
A boldly brilliant record, suffused with dark humour and wildly inventive musicianship’ ★★★★★fRoots
Challenging, virtuosic music that is far more than the sum of its parts’ ★★★★The Skinny
One of the most rewarding listening experiences to be placed before an audience this yearFolk Radio UK
They’re absolutely being themselves … The album is so varied. It takes you by surprise … Every track is something different.Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3 Record Review