Nominated ‘Folk Singer of the Year’ BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016
Emily Portman is the 2013 holder of the BBC Radio Two Folk Award for Best Original Song; an accolade which reflects her power to lure listeners into a complex and darkly surreal netherworld, conjuring a dark and brooding realm. Her ethereal voice conveys a world of dark storytelling, cruel deeds and sordid city landscapes, part inspired by traditional balladry and part by rich literary sources, from the myth of Leda and the Swan to the magical realism of Angela Carter.
Emily’s most recent album Coracle (released in June 2015) is her most ambitious yet, scaling new creative heights. Moving deftly between bare-boned tales of metamorphosis and songs brimful with fragile life, Coracle reinforces Emily’s growing reputation as a dazzlingly original singer and songwriter. Her first entirely self-penned album, Coracle subtly weaves together themes from myth and folklore with personal reflections on motherhood and bereavement.
Coracle has been gathering momentum with a wave of glowing reviews. The album was named a ‘Best Album of 2015’ by the Telegraph and has received airplay from the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Late Junction, plus a BBC live session for Mark Radcliffe’s Folk Show.
Apart from her ongoing work with The Furrow Collective Emily is set to play some rare duo shows with Rob Harbron in 2018.
Emily Portman & Rob Harbron are two of the finest and most distinctive performers on the British folk scene. With multiple accolades for their years of work in different collaborations, now they have formed an inspired new collaboration. Together they create a boldly stripped-back and intricately woven sound, exploring traditional song alongside new writing.
Emily (voice, banjo) is best known both as an original song-writer and for her work in traditional song band The Furrow Collective. Rob (English concertina, guitar, voice, fiddle) is known for his work with Leveret, Fay Hield & the Hurricane Party, Jon Boden and many more, being in great demand as a uniquely skilled concertina player as well as one of the finest multi-instrumentalists in the country.
Together they explore the traditional music in which they are both steeped, mining the archives for hidden gems and offering their own original contributions. Emily’s unaffected voice combines with Rob’s sympathetic musicality to startling effect, creating an unforgettable live experience brimming with subtlety, depth and a shared love of the music.
Praise for Coracle:
‘Entrancing and unsettling. A marvellous, original work’ Observer
‘A tribute to her powerful imagination’ Living Tradition
‘Spooky and surreal’ Guardian
‘Together with her previous two albums The Glamoury and Hatchlings, Emily has created an immaculate triptych of darkly brilliant songs. Make sure to be a completist and get this in your life.’ English Dance and Song Magazine
“An intensely luminous collection of songs whose articulate lyrics, virtuoso performances and intricate arrangements never overshadow the very real humanity which is at the heart of it all.” Folk Radio UK
“Intense and alluring” Fatea