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BIOGRAPHY 2018 Laura Cannell – Performer/Composer

Based in rural East Anglia, Laura Cannell music draws on the emotional influences of the landscape and the sometimes dissonant chords of early and medieval music. With deconstructed bow and double recorders, she performs semi-composed, semi-improvised pieces which explore the spaces between the ancient and experimental, creating music that is rooted in but not tethered to the past.

Laura studied the recorder at London College of Music graduating with 1st class honours in Performance and where she was also a Woodwind Fellow, she was awarded a Masters in Performance Studies at the now defunct music department of the University of East anglia which was a great source of inspiration and where being only one of two people on a performance masters, she side-stepped to attend lectures and seminars in Electro-acoustic music and Sonic Arts and began composing and experimenting with new ways of playing old music. She is a self taught fiddle player and composer.

She has released four critically acclaimed solo albums and is regularly broadcast on the BBC and international radio including Polish National Radio, BBC 6Music and BBC Radio 3 and 4 she has recorded live for Late Junction, In Tune, The Early Music Show, Radio 3’s Breakfast, Hear and Now and Radio 4’s 15 minute play. She has been featured in The Guardian, The Financial Times and has appeared in numerous End of Year lists, including The Wire Magazine’s Top 50, MOJO Magazine’s Top Ten Underground Albums and The Quietus Top Albums of the Year.

Laura regularly performs throughout the UK and Europe, recent festivals include Unsound Poland, Flow Helsinki, Meteo France, Norway, Holland and Denmark. She has performed solo at The Barbican and Royal Festival Hall and composed sound tracks for short films – recent work is hosted by the BFI.

Recent projects include commissions for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, The Zuckerman Museum of Contemporary Art (US),  and tours with the cellist Lori Goldston (Earth, Nirvana), a duo with This Heat drummer Charles Hayward and a series of new music/word performances under the heading Modern Ritual which tours the UK in 2018 and is funded by the Arts Council of England National Lottery Funding. She was also recently invited to give a guest lecture in composition for students at the Royal College of Music.

Laura Cannell gratefully acknowledges support from PRS for Music Foundation
Laura Cannell is supported by PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music




Laura Cannell gratefully acknowledges the support of The Arts Council of England – Developing Your Creative Practice 2018-19Print



Playing fiddle, overbowed fiddle, double recorders, sometimes percussion and other rarefied wind instruments, Laura is a young woman drawing on ancient transcendental and earthly musics. Her sense of space, dynamics and working with acoustics is super sensitive. Whether solo or otherwise she explores the spaces between ancient, traditional and improvised music, often utilising a fragment from a medieval theme to her own end in a manner that embraces the apparitional, historical or the otherworldly. Her seemingly wild side, in such rarefied circles makes her involved yet emotive music really bristle and connect.

Laura’s style has evolved out of long self-taught sessions alongside dedicated training as well employing her very open approach to join the dots with contemporary music makers. Her time in the highly regarded Horses Brawl duo as well as her Early Music missions has formed a musical backbone on which she can now move into new pastures. Her current live music show finds her performing improvisations on ‘over-bowed’ fiddle and double-barrelled recorders creating spell-binding new interpretations and breathing new life into lost and forgotten melodies from the 5th – 14th centuries.

Laura’s exquisitely-realised solo album Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth was released in July 2014. Haunting chords move the heavy air of the church as fiddle drones drift across the flatlands of East Anglia. Recorded in single takes in a small medieval church in rural South Norfolk, UK, the ten tracks feature atmospheric improvisations around tunes played on fiddle with a deconstructed bow (taken apart and wrapped around the violin) and double barrelled recorders (two recorders played at once and based on images in medieval paintings and sculptures).

Open to collaboration and new contexts, Laura also performs in an experimental fiddle duo with André Bosman (aka electronic musician Hoofus) and a new trio Oscilanz with Ralph Cumbers (aka Bass Clef) and renowned drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat, About Group). Laura’s album with harp player Rhodri Davies ‘Feathered Swing of the laurawoodsmallRaven’ is a wonderful tonal piece. Laura animates double barrelled recorders (the renaissance alto and baroque soprano), while Rhodri draws a double bow across the harp, making it sound like a cello.  Together, they fill the sonic field, often coming across like a quartet. Live appearances to date include festivals as diverse as Supernormal, The Aldeburgh Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Brighton Early Music Festival and many others.

Following the release of Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth, Brawl Records released an exclusive digital only album where musicians took to remixing her tracks. Included are Luke Abbott, Bass Clef, Hoofus, Kemper Norton, Ekoplekz and Hacker Farm.

Laura founded the independent record label Brawl Records in 2005.

Laura studied at the London College of Music graduating with 1st class honours (Performance) and for her Masters at the University of East Anglia. She is the founder member of the innovative folk and early duo Horses Brawl have performed at the UK’s top music and arts festivals for nearly a decade. She has appeared live in concert on BBC Radio 3, 4 and 6Music including performances on Late Junction, The Early Music Show, Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone and In Tune. She has also appeared on ITV, Sky Arts and BBC Four. She has released five albums to critical acclaim and was described as “A Virtuoso Magpie Musician” by The Times. www.lauracannell.co.uk

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The Re: Chord Air Project and Modern Ritual projects gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts Council of England National Lottery Funding.