Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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0101Annie Briggs20160906An intimate portrait of the iconic but elusive English folksinger Annie Briggs.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0101Annie Briggs2016090620161001 (R4)An intimate portrait of the iconic but elusive English folksinger Annie Briggs.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0102Ian Partridge2016091320160917 (R4)A portrait of the English lyric tenor Ian Partridge, in his own words and recordings.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

A portrait of the English lyric tenor Ian Partridge, in his own words and recordings.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0103Marta Sebestyen2016092020160924 (R4)A portrait of the Hungarian folk singer Marta Sebestyen, in her own words and recordings.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

A portrait of the Hungarian folk singer Marta Sebestyen, in her own words and recordings.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

02Ane Brun20170606Norwegian singer Ane Brun talks about her life in music.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0201Andy Partridge2017052320170731 (R4)An intimate portrait of the songwriter, singer and frontman of XTC, Andy Partridge.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0201Andy Partridge20170523An intimate portrait of the songwriter, singer and frontman of XTC, Andy Partridge.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0201Andy Partridge2017052320170527 (R4)An intimate portrait of the songwriter, singer and frontman of XTC, Andy Partridge.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Claron McFadden20180417Growing up in upstate New York, it wasn't a surprise that Claron McFadden wanted to be a singer - she was immersed in gospel music at church, soul and pop at home. That she aspired to be a classical soprano was, as she describes it, no choice at all. Her voice led her there.

Having lived in Amsterdam for over thirty years - a place she instantly recognised as home - she now inhabits a space somewhere between America and Europe, just as her voice is at home in music across stylistic boundaries and eras.

With hard-edged modern music by Brian Ferneyhough, an elegant aria by Rameau, Gershwin's Summertime, a jazz arrangement of Bach and even a visceral performance of Erwin Schulhoff's Sonata Erotica, Claron talks with Alan Hall about the life she's shared with her voice.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Amsterdam-based American soprano Claron McFadden on the life she has shared with her voice

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Claron McFadden2018041720180421 (R4)Growing up in upstate New York, it wasn't a surprise that Claron McFadden wanted to be a singer - she was immersed in gospel music at church, soul and pop at home. That she aspired to be a classical soprano was, as she describes it, no choice at all. Her voice led her there.

Having lived in Amsterdam for over thirty years - a place she instantly recognised as home - she now inhabits a space somewhere between America and Europe, just as her voice is at home in music across stylistic boundaries and eras.

With hard-edged modern music by Brian Ferneyhough, an elegant aria by Rameau, Gershwin's Summertime, a jazz arrangement of Bach and even a visceral performance of Erwin Schulhoff's Sonata Erotica, Claron talks with Alan Hall about the life she's shared with her voice.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Amsterdam-based American soprano Claron McFadden on the life she has shared with her voice

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Hannah Peel20180410An intimate portrait of singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Hannah Peel.

Hannah Peel inhabits many different worlds. She can, blithely, be described as a singer-songwriter, known for stripped back renditions of 80s pop songs, accompanying herself with a hand-turned music box. But then she's also composed an epic concept album for brass band and electronics and provided the music for a theatrical re-imagining of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, as well as being a session musician as a singer, violinist, trombonist, keyboard player and arranger.

Her personal life - like her professional activities - traverses different worlds, too. Her childhood was divided between Northern Ireland, where she was born and to which she returns often, and Yorkshire, where she grew up in the brass band tradition.

Now, she's a synthesiser convert and calls her studio The Lab. Yet, in all her music-making, her voice carries the legacy of a family steeped in the culture of singing.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
(Photo credit: Adam Patterson).

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Hannah Peel2018041020180805 (R4)An intimate portrait of singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Hannah Peel.

Hannah Peel inhabits many different worlds. She can, blithely, be described as a singer-songwriter, known for stripped back renditions of 80s pop songs, accompanying herself with a hand-turned music box. But then she's also composed an epic concept album for brass band and electronics and provided the music for a theatrical re-imagining of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, as well as being a session musician as a singer, violinist, trombonist, keyboard player and arranger.

Her personal life - like her professional activities - traverses different worlds, too. Her childhood was divided between Northern Ireland, where she was born and to which she returns often, and Yorkshire, where she grew up in the brass band tradition.

Now, she's a synthesiser convert and calls her studio The Lab. Yet, in all her music-making, her voice carries the legacy of a family steeped in the culture of singing.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
(Photo credit: Adam Patterson).

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Rachel and Becky Unthank20180424During the last ten years, The Unthanks have redefined what might be expected of English folk music. Their sequence of albums has reimagined traditional material in vivid new arrangements and reached into surprising new sources - for example, the songs of Molly Drake. But at the core of the group are the voices of Rachel and Becky, sisters born seven years apart.

Rachel and Becky share their sense of belonging to the landscape of the north-east, their inevitable attraction to melancholy and the qualities that allow each other's voice to blend so effortlessly.

And, in their studio in a Northumbrian farm-yard, they sing their signature melodies and a duet that most typically sounds for the two of them.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Sisters Rachel and Becky reflect on each other's voice and the music of The Unthanks.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Rachel and Becky Unthank2018042420180428 (R4)During the last ten years, The Unthanks have redefined what might be expected of English folk music. Their sequence of albums has reimagined traditional material in vivid new arrangements and reached into surprising new sources - for example, the songs of Molly Drake. But at the core of the group are the voices of Rachel and Becky, sisters born seven years apart.

Rachel and Becky share their sense of belonging to the landscape of the north-east, their inevitable attraction to melancholy and the qualities that allow each other's voice to blend so effortlessly.

And, in their studio in a Northumbrian farm-yard, they sing their signature melodies and a duet that most typically sounds for the two of them.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Sisters Rachel and Becky reflect on each other's voice and the music of The Unthanks.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Sharon Van Etten20180403Sharon Van Etten has been described as having an elegant voice "wrapped in enough rasp and sorrow to keep from sounding too pure or confident". It can suggest folk traditions and Americana with layered harmonies, as well as an edgier, more confrontational sound rooted in urban drones reminiscent of John Cale or P J Harvey.

After a decade or more of songwriting and recording - on albums such as Because I Was In Love, epic, Tramp and Are We There - she's now migrated into acting via a surprising detour.

The interviews for this intimate portrait were recorded in Los Angeles, where she's working on a new album of songs between calls for her role in the Netflix drama, The OA.

Presented and Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
(Photo credit: Ryan Pfluger).

An intimate portrait of American singer-songwriter and actor Sharon Van Etten.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

03Sharon Van Etten2018040320180729 (R4)Sharon Van Etten has been described as having an elegant voice "wrapped in enough rasp and sorrow to keep from sounding too pure or confident". It can suggest folk traditions and Americana with layered harmonies, as well as an edgier, more confrontational sound rooted in urban drones reminiscent of John Cale or P J Harvey.

After a decade or more of songwriting and recording - on albums such as Because I Was In Love, epic, Tramp and Are We There - she's now migrated into acting via a surprising detour.

The interviews for this intimate portrait were recorded in Los Angeles, where she's working on a new album of songs between calls for her role in the Netflix drama, The OA.

Presented and Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
(Photo credit: Ryan Pfluger).

An intimate portrait of American singer-songwriter and actor Sharon Van Etten.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0401Alison Goldfrapp20190708

An intimate portrait of Alison Goldfrapp, an innovative artist and electronic dance music performer (with Goldfrapp) whose voice is inflected with folk, opera and cabaret styles.

Recorded overnight on a walk through woods in Hampshire during the summer solstice and at her home in east London, this evocation of one of Britain's most versatile singers touches on Alison's childhood and the impact of being educated by nuns, her adventures across experimental art forms, the joy of a thumping electronic dance track and the enduring allure of nature, both in her music and her life.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four

An intimate portrait of the voice of electronic music duo Goldfrapp.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0401Alison Goldfrapp2019070820200413 (R4)An intimate portrait of Alison Goldfrapp, an innovative artist and electronic dance music performer (with Goldfrapp) whose voice is inflected with folk, opera and cabaret styles.

Recorded overnight on a walk through woods in Hampshire during the summer solstice and at her home in east London, this evocation of one of Britain's most versatile singers touches on Alison's childhood and the impact of being educated by nuns, her adventures across experimental art forms, the joy of a thumping electronic dance track and the enduring allure of nature, both in her music and her life.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four

An intimate portrait of the voice of electronic music duo Goldfrapp.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0402Kurt Wagner20190715

An intimate portrait of Kurt Wagner, singer and creative force behind American indie band Lambchop.

Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, Kurt Wagner's artistic aspirations were inclined towards the visual arts rather than the city's all-pervasive country music scene. But hanging around friends, exchanging school cello for garage guitar, he found that he became - by default - the singer. No-one else wanted the role.

So began Lambchop, an indie rock band that Kurt mischievously publicised as 'Alt-country' to see which music hacks actually troubled to listen rather than just re-hash the press release.

Recorded on his porch at home in Nashville, Kurt reflects on his idiosyncratic vocal style, his embracing of technology and sharing life with a political activist in a Republican state in the third year of Donald Trump's presidency.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

An intimate portrait of Kurt Wagner, singer and creative force behind US band Lambchop.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0402Kurt Wagner2019071520200414 (R4)An intimate portrait of Kurt Wagner, singer and creative force behind American indie band Lambchop.

Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, Kurt Wagner's artistic aspirations were inclined towards the visual arts rather than the city's all-pervasive country music scene. But hanging around friends, exchanging school cello for garage guitar, he found that he became - by default - the singer. No-one else wanted the role.

So began Lambchop, an indie rock band that Kurt mischievously publicised as 'Alt-country' to see which music hacks actually troubled to listen rather than just re-hash the press release.

Recorded on his porch at home in Nashville, Kurt reflects on his idiosyncratic vocal style, his embracing of technology and sharing life with a political activist in a Republican state in the third year of Donald Trump's presidency.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

An intimate portrait of Kurt Wagner, singer and creative force behind US band Lambchop.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0402Kurt Wagner2019071520200414 (R4)An intimate portrait of Kurt Wagner, singer and creative force behind US band Lambchop.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0403Stephanie Phillips20190722

Growing up in Wolverhampton, Steph Phillips was a quiet girl, shy to the point of wanting to vanish during social occasions and conscious that as a black teenage female she was, anyway, invisible to most of society. These days, she's found her voice in a space where she can be what she describes as her "full self'" - she's the guitarist and lead singer with the black feminist punk band Big Joanie.

In a lineage of music-making with attitude that can be traced back through Riot Grrrl to the original punk icon, the late Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs, Steph now commands a stage on which issues of identity, of race and gender, of political activism and artistic expression collide in joyful, noisy creativity.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

An intimate portrait of Steph Phillips from black feminist punk band Big Joanie.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0403Stephanie Phillips2019072220200415 (R4)An intimate portrait of Steph Phillips from black feminist punk band Big Joanie.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0403Stephanie Phillips2019072220200415 (R4)Growing up in Wolverhampton, Steph Phillips was a quiet girl, shy to the point of wanting to vanish during social occasions and conscious that as a black teenage female she was, anyway, invisible to most of society. These days, she's found her voice in a space where she can be what she describes as her "full self'" - she's the guitarist and lead singer with the black feminist punk band Big Joanie.

In a lineage of music-making with attitude that can be traced back through Riot Grrrl to the original punk icon, the late Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs, Steph now commands a stage on which issues of identity, of race and gender, of political activism and artistic expression collide in joyful, noisy creativity.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

An intimate portrait of Steph Phillips from black feminist punk band Big Joanie.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0404Richard Dawson20190729

For a man whose musical demeanour comes across as rough-hewn with a potency that's barely contained, Richard Dawson in person is gentle with a soft smile and opinions that are precisely worded though almost tentatively shared. He admits to a high level of everyday anxiety, yet has left a mark on contemporary folk music in England that testifies to an innate confidence in his musical vision. His albums (notably Nothing Important of 2014 and Peasant in 2017), as well as being critically acclaimed, have taken folk music into new territory that's at once ancient and avant-garde.

Speaking at his home in the north-east of England, Richard reflects on the particular qualities of his voice, the life that music has opened up to him and his ever-present companion, Trouble the cat.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four

An intimate portrait of folk musician Richard Dawson.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0404Richard Dawson2019072920200416 (R4)An intimate portrait of folk musician Richard Dawson.

Musicians talk about their life and work.

0404Richard Dawson2019072920200416 (R4)For a man whose musical demeanour comes across as rough-hewn with a potency that's barely contained, Richard Dawson in person is gentle with a soft smile and opinions that are precisely worded though almost tentatively shared. He admits to a high level of everyday anxiety, yet has left a mark on contemporary folk music in England that testifies to an innate confidence in his musical vision. His albums (notably Nothing Important of 2014 and Peasant in 2017), as well as being critically acclaimed, have taken folk music into new territory that's at once ancient and avant-garde.

Speaking at his home in the north-east of England, Richard reflects on the particular qualities of his voice, the life that music has opened up to him and his ever-present companion, Trouble the cat.

Presented and produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four

An intimate portrait of folk musician Richard Dawson.

Musicians talk about their life and work.