The Unthanks join all female folk festival line-up in Barking Abbey ruins

The Unthanks. Picture: LBBD

The Unthanks. Picture: LBBD - Credit: Archant

The Unthanks have been announced as the Sunday headliners of the Barking Folk Festival.

Sisters Rebecca and Rachel Unthanks, from Northumberland, will join the all female line-up in the Abbey Ruins on Sunday, June 10.

The pair combine traditional folk music with other genres and have played at venues all around the world.

Their debut album Cruel Sister won Folk Album of the Year at the Mojo magazine awards in 2005.

The duo have released ten albums and their 2015 release ‘Mount the Air’ won Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards that year.


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Rachel said: “The Abbey Ruins is really intriguing, and it sounds like a great backdrop. We are looking forward to finding out more about the history when we arrive there.

“It is so exciting for us to be part of an all female line-up and it is so rare.

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“It is a fabulous thing to celebrate and we are naturally drawn to issues about women, so we feel this is a great thing to be a part of and celebrate.

“It is something that is certainly aligned to our own political leanings, so we are delighted to be playing at Barking Folk Festival.”

The pair will perform alongside their 10-piece band, which includes two pregnant women.

Rachel added: “We will do a mixture of different songs that we like to play at festivals and will fit in with the Barking Folk.

“We will do a version of the King of Rome which is one of our favourites. There will be lots of different songs.”

This summer the band are also set to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the proms.

“We are really looking forward to doing a whole evening there,” Rebecca added.

The band are used to doing high-profile performances. Colin Firth personally invited the group to perform at a theatre show alongside himself, Keira Knightley, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Ian McKellan and Kelly MacDonald.

The show, called ‘The People Speak’, was a celebration of people who had spoken out for what they think is right throughout history.

Rachel added: “We were honoured to be part of the evening.”

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