Nancy Kerr

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Nancy Kerr
Nancy Kerr 2010.jpg
Kerr on stage at the 2010 Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Background information
Born Plaistow, London 1975
Genres English folk music
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, fiddle, viola, cello, guitar, harmonium, autoharp
Years active 1990s–present
Labels Little Dish Records
Associated acts Eliza Carthy
Sandra Kerr
Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
Kerr Fagan Harbron
Tim Van Eyken
Simpson Cutting Kerr
Melrose Quartet

Nancy Kerr (born 1975) is an English folk musician and songwriter, specialising in the fiddle and singing. Born in London, she now lives in Sheffield[1]. She is the daughter of London-born singer-songwriter Sandra Kerr[2] and Northumbrian piper Ron Elliott[3]. She was the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards "Folk Singer of the Year"[4].

Kerr came to prominence in the early 1990s via a musical partnership with fellow fiddle player Eliza Carthy. The duo produced two albums – Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr (1993)[5] and Shape of Scrape (1995)[6] – before ceasing to work together. A retrospective collection of their work (plus three previously unreleased tracks) – On Reflection – was released in 2002[7].[6]

Kerr and her mother released an album together – Neat and Complete – in 1996.[8]

Since 1995 Kerr has mostly worked in a duo with Australian bouzouki player and singer James Fagan,[9] whom she married in 2007. The duo won the Horizon Award at the inaugural BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2000, and Best Duo at the same awards in both 2003 and 2011[10] Between 1997 and 2008 they released six albums on the Fellside label – "Starry Gazy Pie" (1997), "Scalene" (with Sandra Kerr) (1998), "Steely Water" (1999), "Between The Dark and Light" (2002), "Strands of Gold" (2006) and "Station House" (with Robert Harbron) (2008).[11] 2010 saw the production their first completely original collection of songs – "Twice Reflected Sun", released 9 August 2010 on Navigator Records (NAV0041). First track of the album, Queen of Waters, was nominated for the Best Original Song category at the BBC Folk Awards in 2011.

In 2008 the duo joined forces with concertina player Robert Harbron to form the trio Kerr Fagan Harbron, recording and touring the album Station House (Fellside CD 211).

Kerr has also worked with folk/pop group Epona, Australian folk family band The Fagans and the Tim van Eyken band, amongst others.

In 2010 she joined James Fagan, Richard Arrowsmith and Jess Arrowsmith to form "Melrose Quartet" in her new home city of Sheffield. They released a live EP in 2011 called "Live at Cheltenham" and a studio album "Fifty Verses" in 2013.

2013 saw Kerr make up part of Fay Hield's "The Full English" band to promote the on-line publication of the folk collections of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in Cecil Sharp House. The collective won "Best Group" at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and their CD "The Full English" won "Best Album" at the same ceremony.

In 2014 Kerr was one of the key songwriters in "The Elizabethan Session", a concert, CD and film[12] commissioned by Folk By The Oak and The English Folk Dance and Song Society creating new music about the Elizabethan era.

2014 saw Kerr release her first CD of original songs under her own name. Sweet Visitor was released on her own label Little Dish Records on 21 July 2014. A UK tour with "The Sweet Visitor Band" (James Fagan, Rowan Rheingans, Tom Wright and Tim Yates) started on 18 November 2014. James Fagan now shares his role in the band with Greg Russell.

Nancy Kerr won "Folk Singer of the Year" at the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

2015 saw the launch of "Simpson Cutting Kerr", a trio with Kerr, Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting. Their debut CD "Murmurs" was released on Topic Records on 8 June 2015.

In November 2015, Kerr was one of four songwriters commissioned by Folk By The Oak and The English Folk Dance and Song Society to write and tour a production called "Sweet Liberties" looking at the history of British parliament and democracy. Their CD "Sweet Liberties" was released in 2016.[13]

2016 saw the production of Kerr's second album of original songs with The Sweet Visitor Band on Little Dish Records. The album, entitled "Instar", was produced by Tom Wright and was released on 16 September 2016.

Partial discography[edit]

1993: Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr (with Eliza Carthy) (Mrs Casey Records MCRCD3991)[14]
1994: Waterson:Carthy (with Waterson–Carthy) (Topic Records TSCD475)[15]
1995: Shape of Scrape (with Eliza Carthy) (Mrs Casey Records MCRCD5992)[16]
1995: Evolving Tradition 1 (with Kings of Calicut)
1996: Neat and Complete (with Sandra Kerr) (Fellside Recordings FECD107)
1996: Shine Again (with Epona) (Impstone Records IMP468CD)[17]
1996: Evolving Tradition 2 (with Kings of Calicut)
1997: Starry Gazy Pie (with James Fagan) (Fellside Recordings FECD127)
1998: Scalene (with Sandra Kerr) (Fellside Recordings FECD137)
1999: Steely Water (with James Fagan) (Fellside Recordings FECD145)
2000: Five Little Frogs (with Sandra Kerr, Leon Rosselson, and Kevin Graal) (Playsongs Publications PP06)[18]
2000: Five Little Owls (with Sandra Kerr, Leon Rosselson, and Kevin Graal) (Playsongs Publications PP08)[19]
2002: Between The Dark and Light (with James Fagan) (Fellside Recordings FECD167)
2002: On Reflection (with Eliza Carthy) (Mrs Casey Records MCRCD1003)[20]
2004: Evolving Tradition 4: Generations (with Sandra Kerr)
2004: Turning Fine (with The Fagans)
2005: Kind Letters (with Martin Simpson)
2006: Strands of Gold (with James Fagan) (Fellside Recordings FECD199)
2006: Stiffs, Lovers, Holymen, Thieves (with Tim van Eyken band)
2008: Station House (with James Fagan and Robert Harbron
2009: Milk and Honey Land (with The Fagans)
2010: Twice Reflected Sun (with James Fagan)
2011: Melrose Quartet Live at Cheltenham (with Melrose Quartet: Nancy Kerr, James Fagan, Richard and Jess Arrowsmith)
2013: Fifty Verses (with Melrose Quartet)
2014: The Full English (with Fay Hield, Martin Simpson, Seth Lakeman, Rob Harbron, Sam Sweeney and Ben Nicholls)
2014: Sweet Visitor
2015: It Was Red/Gingerbread" (Vinyl EP)
2015: Murmurs (with Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting)
2016: Instar
2016: Sweet Liberties (with Martyn Joseph, Sam Carter and Maz O’Connor)


  1. ^ "Nancy Kerr". Our Favourite Places - The Sheffield Culture Guide. Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  2. ^ "About Sandra Kerr". Sandra Kerr Songsharers. Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  3. ^ Kelly, Mike (2015-03-13). "The life of Sandra Kerr: From Bagpuss to folk legends Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger". journallive. Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  4. ^ Chilton, Martin (2015-04-23). "Nancy Kerr wins BBC Folk Singer of the Year". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr". Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  6. ^ a b Mrs Casey recordings
  7. ^ "Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr: On Reflection". Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  8. ^ Fellside recordings
  9. ^ Taplas, the voice of folk in Wales & the borders, issue 130, Jun/Jul 2005
  10. ^ BBC Folk Awards, 2000, 2003, 2011
  11. ^ All recorded by Fellside
  12. ^ "The Elizabethan Session Documentary – Mallard Productions". Mallard Productions. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 
  13. ^ Whalley, Johnny (18 November 2016). "Sweet Liberties: Album Review". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 8 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  15. ^ "Waterson:Carthy". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  16. ^ "Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr: Shape of Scrape". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  17. ^ "Kate Fletcher, Epona". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  18. ^ "Five Little Frogs / Five Little Owls". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  19. ^ "Five Little Frogs / Five Little Owls". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  20. ^ "Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr: On Reflection". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 

External links[edit]