Amy Thatcher & Fran Knowles

‘Accordion star’ and ‘fearless experimenter within British folk music’, Amy Thatcher has teamed up with drummer Fran Knowles. Together they are putting themselves at the forefront of experimental instrumental sounds with a cocktail of folk-inspired melodies and rambunctious rhythms interspersed with electronics. Expect to hear inventive, progressive melodies expressed within the familiar realm of jigs and reels. With a satisfying mix of toe-tapping tunes and gorgeous harmonies, this virtuosic all-female piano accordion and percussion duo will expand your definitions of the instruments and leave you fired up to hear more.

Amy is an accordion maestro whose reputation as one of the UK’s leading folk performers and composers is garnered from her work with such luminaries as Kathryn Tickell, Sting, The Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Shee and Monster Ceilidh Band. Her exceptional playing has taken her across the world from The Royal Albert Hall to the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia, performing with everything from small instrumental groups to full orchestras.

2019 saw the release of her much anticipated debut album ‘Solo’. Co-produced with her husband Kieran Szifris, from Monster Ceilidh Band. It is a dynamic and expressive instrumental album exploring new textures and arrangements for the solo accordion.

Francesca Knowles is a gifted musician from the North East of England, specialising in drums, percussion and keys. Since studying in Leeds & Sheffield, where she earned an MA in Ethnomusicology in 2014. She has performed with a huge variety of musical projects around the North, toured across the globe with international drumming street theatre show Spark!, and currently gigs and records with a number of Newcastle-based projects.

Since 2009 Fran has been a music educator, teaching drum kit & piano to people of all ages and abilities as well as leading drumming workshops for young people. In May 2021 Fran was awarded the ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ grant by Arts Council England, for which she is now writing new music scheduled for release in 2022.

The duo will be in the studio recording new material in the Spring & on the road with their ‘White Ball’ Tour in the Autumn of 2022.

‘Amy is and always has been the most amazing Accordion player, my right hand woman!

Kathryn Tickell

describes their working relationship over the past decade.

‘Amy Thatcher not only puts herself on the map as one of the masters of the accordion but she also further cements her reputation as a fearless experimenter within British folk music… a joy to listen to’

Phil Vanderyken

Review of 'Solo' in folk radio

‘Fran’s percussion skills are beautifully intuitive, and she’s no stranger to progressive exploring, which makes the possibilities of this duo so refreshing and exciting – together, they have a mesmerising energy that will be great to witness live’

Alex Gallacher

Folk Radio, Tune of the Day

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