Songs I love: Kathryn Tickell – Favourite place

Kathryn Tickell is best known for being the finest Northumbrian piper around and arguably the best there ever has been. I first heard her play at the Rothbury folk festival about thirty-five years ago. I heard her before I saw her. The open pipes competition was on, and I had missed the start. As I was making my way into the hall, I could hear this wonderful lyrical pipe music being played. The style wasn’t quite right for any of the pipers I knew. On the stage was a twelve or thirteen year old girl.

“It can’t be her”

was my initial thought, but it was, and if I remember correctly she won the competition.

Having told you what a brilliant piper she is, this “Song I Love” doesn’t feature her pipes.

It is Kathryn’s reconstruction of her mother’s reminiscences of being a girl brought up on a Border farm. Lots of the things she says remind me of my upbringing on a Border farm, about ten or fifteen years later and on the Scottish side of the border.

It features Kathryn’s fiddle (she is almost as good a fiddle player as she is a piper) and her spoken voice.

There isn’t a YouTube video so I have embedded a Spotify track. I’m not quite sure how it works because I haven’t tried it before.You might have to register to listen.


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