O'Hooley & Tidow

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O'Hooley & Tidow
Heidi Tidow and Belinda O'Hooley (14828618271).jpg
O'Hooley & Tidow at 2014 Cambridge Folk Festival
Background information
Origin Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England
Genres Folk, chamber folk
Years active 2009–present
Labels No Masters
Associated acts Lucy Ward; Chumbawumba; Anna Esslemont and Cormac Byrne; Jackie Oates
Website www.ohooleyandtidow.com
Members Belinda O'Hooley
Heidi Tidow

O'Hooley & Tidow are an English folk music duo from Yorkshire. Singer-songwriter Heidi Tidow (pronounced Tee-doe or "Tee-dov" ) performs and records with her wife, singer-songwriter and pianist Belinda O'Hooley, who was formerly a member of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (now The Unthanks). O'Hooley & Tidow were nominated for Best Duo at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.[1] Their 2016 album, Shadows, was given a five-starred review in The Guardian and four of their other five albums, including their 2017 release WinterFolk Volume 1, have received four-starred reviews in the British national press.


Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow, who were both brought up in Yorkshire, met in Huddersfield in 2005[2] and started songwriting and performing together in 2009. They share a traditional Irish music background and have family in County Sligo and County Galway.[3] Tidow also has a German heritage on her mother's side.[4]


Silent June[edit]

Between August and November 2009 at their home in Golcar, Huddersfield,[5][6] they recorded an album, Silent June, which was released on 22 February 2010 to critical acclaim,[7] [8][9] including a four-starred review in the Financial Times.[10] It was one of MOJO magazine's Top 10 Folk Albums of 2010[11] and won "Best Debut" in the Spiral Awards, organised by Spiral Earth.[12] O'Hooley & Tidow also won the FATEA Innovation Award 2010, an award for music which broadens the appeal of roots-based music.[13]

Silent June was mixed and mastered by Neil Ferguson of Chumbawamba and also featured Anna Esslemont and Cormac Byrne (both from Uiscedwr), Jackie Oates and the Solo Players string quartet. Its title refers to the words of one of the songs on the album, "Que Sera", about the execution during World War I of the British nurse Edith Cavell.[nb 1][14] The album also includes a version of the song "Spancil Hill" and a new song, "Too Old to Dream", incorporating a segment of "When I Grow Too Old to Dream", a popular song with music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II,[8] published in 1934 and recorded by many artists, most notably Gracie Fields.

The Fragile[edit]

O'Hooley & Tidow released a single, "The Last Polar Bear", in November 2011. The song was taken from their second album, The Fragile,[15] featuring Andy Cutting, Jackie Oates, Anna Esslemont and Cormac Byrne, which was released in February 2012. Northern Sky music magazine's reviewer described the song as "utterly beautiful", saying "This is how love songs should be written."[16] The track was issued in November 2012 as a double single with "Gentleman Jack"; this song, also from the album, is about Anne Lister, an early 19th-century Yorkshire lesbian gentlewoman.[17]

The album also includes a cover version of Massive Attack's "Teardrop", voted by Guardian music critic Jude Rogers as one of the best tracks of 2012.[18]

In a four-starred review, Robin Denselow of The Guardian described the album as an "intriguing, ambitious set".[19]

The Hum[edit]

Their third album, The Hum, was released on 17 February 2014[20][21] and received a four-starred review in The Irish Times.[22] In a four-starred review for The Guardian, Denselow described it as the duo's most experimental album to date with "thoughtful, inventive songs about industry, migrant workers and war alongside a sturdy tribute to Pussy Riot; an exquisite lament about motherhood and sacrifice; a mystical love story about a fox who becomes a woman, and a haunting treatment of Ruins By the Shore, the Nic Jones song of time and decay. Surely one of the albums of the year".[23]

Two songs from the album – "Summat's Brewin'" and "Peculiar Brood" – were released as a single on 20 July 2014. On 7 September 2014 they released a video of a live performance of "Peculiar Brood", a portrayal of suicide bombing from a mother’s perspective, using bird imagery. It was filmed by Minster Studios at Holy Trinity Church, Leeds.[24]

"The Pixie"[edit]

In November 2014 O'Hooley & Tidow released a video recording, filmed by Minster Studios at Holy Trinity Church, Leeds, of a brand new song, "The Pixie", that had been commissioned by Billy Bragg and 14-18 NOW to commemorate World War I at Glastonbury Festival.[25]

Summat's Brewin'[edit]

Their fourth album, Summat's Brewin', was released in August 2015 in a limited edition of 1,000 signed copies.[26][27] The songs on the album explore society’s fascination with drink, drinking and real ale.[27]

David Kidman, for Folk Radio UK, described it as an "exceptional recording" that faithfully captures the "sheer ebullient inventiveness of the duo’s musical settings, their committed sense of fun, their consummate, enviable musicality, their serious ability to grab your attention and carry you through the experience".[28]


O'Hooley and Tidow's fifth album, Shadows, was released at the Cambridge Folk Festival in July 2016.[29] It received a five-starred review from Robin Denselow in The Guardian.[30] Colin Irwin, reviewing the album for Mojo, said that "the overriding tone of this album is as deep and subtly dramatic as the piano instrumental that gives the long-player its title.[31]

WinterFolk Volume 1[edit]

Their sixth album, WinterFolk Volume 1, released on 3 November 2017, reflects on "some of the darker hued aspects of yuletide, considering the season in an alternative, real way, from the absence or loss of children, to domestic violence at Christmas, from global warming to poverty, religion, displacement, migration and loneliness".[32] It received a four-starred review in The Guardian from Jude Rogers, who said: "Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow’s festive offering is piano-drizzled and string-glistened, its sound as comforting on the ears as favourite jumpers on the body on dark, icy mornings. Comprising reimaginings of their back catalogue, plus a few traditionals and modern covers, some of its subjects are tougher than you’d expect".[33]

Unholy Choir[edit]

With Grace Petrie, and Rowan Rheingans, Hazel Askew and Hannah James of Lady Maisery, performing as Coven, they released an album, Unholy Choir, in March 2017.[34][35]

Live performances[edit]

The Guardian's Jude Rogers described O'Hooley & Tidow as the weekend's "best band" at the 2012 Cambridge Folk Festival.[36] Colin Irwin, reviewing the acts at the 2014 Cambridge Folk Festival, praised O'Hooley & Tidow's "fine set".[37]

Other musical contributions[edit]

O'Hooley & Tidow also feature on Chumbawamba's album ABCDEFG (2010)[38] and DVD Going, Going (2012),[39] Lucy Ward's debut album Adelphi Has to Fly (2011)[40] and Patsy Matheson's Domino Girls (2014).[41]


O'Hooley and Tidow[edit]

Title Format Release date Label Notes
Silent June album 22 February 2010 No Masters[42] (NMCD 32), distributed by Proper Records
"The Last Polar Bear" single (download) 21 November 2011[15][43] No Masters
The Fragile album 9 February 2012 No Masters (NMCD 39)
"Gentleman Jack"/ "The Last Polar Bear" single (download) 4 November 2012 No Masters
The Hum album 17 February 2014 No Masters (NMCD 41)
The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions: O'Hooley & Tidow MP3 mini-album 4 May 2014 Delphonic Records (DELPH 094) Contains three live tracks: "Summat's Brewin'", "The Hum" and "Two Mothers"[44]
"Summat's Brewin'"/ "Peculiar Brood" single (download) 20 July 2014[45] No Masters
"Peculiar Brood" video (live performance) 7 October 2014[24] Filmed by Minster Studios at Holy Trinity Church, Leeds[24]
"The Pixie" video (live performance) 2 November 2014[25] Filmed by Minster Studios at Holy Trinity Church, Leeds[25]
Summat's Brewin' album August 2015 Hum Records (HUM 01) Released in a limited edition of 1,000 signed copies.[27] The album includes a live version of the song "Summat's Brewin'"
Shadows album 29 July 2016 No Masters (NMCD 47)
WinterFolk Volume 1 album 3 November 2017 No Masters (NMCD 51)


Title Format Release date Label
Unholy Choir EP 19 March 2017 own label COVENCD01[34]


  1. ^ O'Hooley says that "Que Sera" seeks to portray "the horrors of war from a woman's perspective" and "explores the feelings, sounds and senses that Edith Cavell may have felt as she stood before a firing squad"."O'Hooley & Tidow". Gayleeds.com. 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2011. [permanent dead link]


  1. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2013". BBC. January 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "How Huddersfield became home to one of folk music's most exciting duos". Yorkshire Post. 14 August 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "About". O'Hooley & Tidow website. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "O' Hooley & Tidow interview". EFDSS News. English Folk Dance and Song Society. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Sam Wonfor (25 June 2013). "New band and album for The Unthanks' Belinda O'Hooley". The Journal. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  6. ^ Alex Gallacher (10 March 2010). "O'Hooley & Tidow – Silent June". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  7. ^ Peter Culshaw (30 January 2010). "New Music CDs Round-Up 5: O'Hooley and Tidow, Silent June (No Masters)". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Colin Irwin (16 February 2010). "The former-Unthank's gift for a charged lyric and a compelling tune is undiminished". BBC Online. Retrieved 11 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Neil Spencer (14 February 2010). "O'Hooley & Tidow: Silent June". The Observer. London. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  10. ^ David Honigman (27 February 2010). "O'Hooley & Tidow: Silent June". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Award winning Huddersfield folk duo O'Hooley and Tidow set for LBT concert". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "The Spiral Awards Winners 2011". Spiral Earth. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Fatea Awards 2010". FATEA Magazine. 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "O'Hooley & Tidow: unconventional and experimental folk". Musos magazine. February 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "O'Hooley & Tidow – The Last Polar Bear". Missing Lesbians. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Allan Wilkinson (22 November 2011). "Single Review: O'Hooley & Tidow – The Last Polar Bear (Download)". Northern Sky. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  17. ^ Elizabeth Mavor (4 February 1988). "Gentleman Jack from Halifax". London Review of Books. 10 (3): 18–19. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  18. ^ Jude Rogers; et al. (17 December 2012). "The best albums of 2012: our critics' individual choices". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Robin Denselow (2 February 2012). "O'Hooley & Tidow: The Fragile – review". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "O'Hooley & Tidow bid farewell to The Fragile". Spiral Earth. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  21. ^ Simon Holland (5 December 2013). "New Album: O'Hooley & Tidow – The Hum". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  22. ^ Joe Breen (14 March 2014). "O'Hooley & Tidow: The Hum". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Robin Denselow (20 February 2014). "O'Hooley & Tidow: The Hum – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c "Tues 7 October 'Peculiar Brood' Live at Leeds Holy Trinity Church". O'Hooley & Tidow. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c O'Hooley & Tidow (2 November 2014). O'Hooley & Tidow – The Pixie – Minster Studios (Video). Leeds: YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  26. ^ Ciaran Algar (September 2015). "O'Hooley & Tidow – Summat's Brewin'". Bright Young Folk. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  27. ^ a b c Katie Dickinson (21 August 2015). "Folk duo O'Hooley and Tidow bring Summat's Brewin' micro tour to Ulverston". Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  28. ^ David Kidman (11 September 2015). "O'Hooley & Tidow – Summat's Brewin'". Album reviews. Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  29. ^ "New Album 'Shadows' to be released at Cambridge Folk Festival". News. O'Hooley & Tidow. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  30. ^ Robin Denselow (28 July 2016). "O'Hooley & Tidow: Shadows review – England's answer to the McGarrigles". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  31. ^ Colin Irwin (September 2016). "MOJO's Folk Album of the Month". Mojo. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  32. ^ "WinterFolk Vol.1". Proper Records. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  33. ^ Jude Rogers (2 November 2017). "O'Hooley & Tidow: WinterFolk review – glowing, and chilling, seasonal songs". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Mike Ainscoe. "Coven: Unholy Choir – EP review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 5 February 2018. 
  35. ^ Dai Jeffries. "COVEN – Unholy Choir (own label COVENCD01)". Folking.com. Retrieved 5 February 2018. 
  36. ^ Jude Rogers (31 July 2012). "Cambridge folk festival". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  37. ^ Colin Irwin (4 August 2014). "Cambridge folk festival review – celebrating 50 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  38. ^ Stefan Appleby (9 March 2010). "Chumbawamba ABCDEFG Review". BBC. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  39. ^ Reinhard Zierke (8 December 2014). "Chumbawamba: Going, Going". Chumbawamba. Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  40. ^ Robin Denselow (16 June 2011). "Lucy Ward: Adelphi Has to Fly – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  41. ^ Martin Chilton (5 May 2014). "Folk Music: treats for spring 2014". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  42. ^ "No master's voice – Belinda O'Hooley, former pianist with Mercury nominees The Unthanks, talks to Rachael Clegg about her latest duo outing". Sheffield Telegraph. 9 November 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  43. ^ Mary Stokes (November 2011). "O'Hooley & Tidow – The Last Polar Bear". Bright Young Folk. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  44. ^ "The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions: O'Hooley & Tidow". Napster. Retrieved 22 November 2017. 
  45. ^ Alex Gallacher (4 July 2014). "O'Hooley & Tidow – Summat's Brewin' (New Single)". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 

External links[edit]