Martha Tilston

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Martha Tilston
Martha Tilston - Cambridge Festivals 2001-2014 (966563935).jpg
Background information
Born1975/1976 (age 44–45)[1]
OriginBrighton, East Sussex, England
Years active2000–present
LabelsSquiggly, Other Tongues
Associated actsMouse
Martha Tilston and the Woods

Martha Tilston is an English folk singer-songwriter based in Cornwall.


Martha Tilston is the daughter of singer-songwriter Steve Tilston and stepdaughter of Irish folk performer Maggie Boyle. Trained as an artist and dramatist, she began her musical career in 2000 as an active presence in Britain's alternative festival scene, particularly as part of the travelling troupe called the Small World Solar Stage.[2][3] She formed the duo Mouse with guitarist Nick Marshall, releasing two albums, Helicopter Trees (2000) and Mouse Tales (2001) and touring as a supporting act with Damien Rice. Her first solo album, Rolling, was issued in 2002 on her own label, Squiggly, followed by Bimbling in 2004.

Tilston's next album, Ropeswing (2005), featured an expanded group of backing musicians named The Woods and was available as a free download. It contains her two most politically explicit songs, "Artificial", which speaks of the deadliness of office life, and "Corporations", which is a critique of corporate rule and the corporate-education complex. She has also appeared on several compilations, including her song "The Saddest Game" about child soldiers in Africa on The Big Issue's Peace Not War CD.[4] Her song "Good World" is among several that she has written and performed on environmental subjects.[5] However, much of her work is not political, focusing instead on personal freedom, love, inner peace and the natural world. Songs such as "Simple" on Ropeswing, "By the Lake" on Mouse Tales and "Firefly" on Bimbling are examples of these.

Tilston's album Of Milkmaids and Architects was released in late 2006. She was nominated for Best New Act in the 2007 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards contest.[6]

Throughout her career Tilston has played regularly throughout Britain, ranging from unaccompanied solo gigs to larger concerts with up to six-piece backing band The Woods. She also toured Australia in 2008. Following a maternity break she resumed playing live in April 2009, appearing on the fourth Zero 7 studio album Yeah Ghost.

Tilston released two albums of largely self-penned songs (Lucy and the Wolves in 2010 and Machines of Love And Grace in 2012). In 2014, she released an album The Sea consisting of traditional English folk songs about the sea, largely reflecting her family's strong musical traditions and involving her family and friends in the performances.



  • 2000 Mouse: Helicopter Trees (with Nick Marshall)
  • 2001 Mouse: Mouse Tales (with Nick Marshall)
  • 2003 Rolling
  • 2004 Bimbling
  • 2006 Ropeswing (credited to Martha Tilston and The Woods)
  • 2007 Of Milkmaids and Architects
  • 2008 Till I Reach the Sea (compilation EP)
  • 2010 Lucy and the Wolves
  • 2012 Machines of Love and Grace
  • 2014 The Sea
  • 2017 Nomad


  1. ^ Kirstie May (25 July 2010). "Martha Tilston". Morning Star. Retrieved 13 June 2011. At 34, Tilston … CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Small World Solar Stage [1]. Retrieved 18 February 2008
  3. ^ Biographical details found at Irwin, Colin [2] Martha Tilston Biography at Retrieved 18 February 2008; Irwin, Colin, interview in fRoots Magazine No. 297, March 2008; Tilston, Martha [3] official website
  4. ^ Peace Not War "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved 18 February 2008
  5. ^ Friends of the Earth UK [4] Interview. Retrieved 18 February 2008
  6. ^ Peter Culshaw Martha Tilston: The folk singer who's come in from the cold. The Guardian, 21 January 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2008.

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