Album Review: Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman – Personae

Devon based Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have become one of the most adored and formidable folk duos in recent years. Their enigmatic and contemporary folk tunes have captured the hearts of the world since they first came together several years ago.

This year sees the release of their latest endeavour, the bold and inspiring Personae. Roberts and Lakeman have been producing music together in such an organic manner than their album sounds as natural as the air they breathe. Personae is a veritable feast for the ears as it cranks to life with such a rich and filling collection of songs. The music the duo produce is so carefully composed that layers upon layers exist to give you a subtle treat with each and every listen. The result is a collection of songs that feel soft and almost understated but are actually full of a rich, vibrant and warm life. This warmth is born of their charismatic and inextricable fusion of personas. Both Roberts and Lakeman are wealthily talented individuals but as they come together they form a super duo that are larger than life. Personae itself is a refreshing bridge between old and new. Contemporary stylings nestle alongside a charming air of the traditional to form songs that will be known for generations. Songs such as Tribute of Hands have a dark and twisted element to them with a rich folk history of dark and sombre topics alongside elegant pipes and a decadent guitar tune.

Roberts provides the lead vocals for the duo with a charismatic and enticing voice that echoes of smoke and honey. Sweet, tender and brimming with passion her vocals are legendary. What’s so fascinatingly charming about Roberts voice is the depth and clarity it retains. With such an powerful and natural feeling to it, it echoes like a waterfall, heard from miles around and every bit as awe-inspiring. Lakeman lends his evocative voice to several of their songs which brings their subtle blend of talents to a head, elevating them ever higher. The duo have a wonderful playful streak that the present alongside their more classical songs. Songs such as The Poison Club have a dreadfully macabre undertone but are darkly funny as well as being such a jazzy number that it will stick in your mind for a millennia. These changes in style also highlight a monumental versatility in their talents as they bring a whirlpool fusion of sound to life at the drop of a hat.

Roberts and Lakeman have made themselves a household name in folk music with their opulent music and daring execution. They have created a mesmerising collection of songs that drag folk from the past into the present and then sends it hurtling into the future. This duo is the voice of folk to come.

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Review by Joe Knipe

See Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman on tour with support from Sunjay



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