Rachel Unthank And The Winterset, a Northumbrian folk quartet, have blown a bracing north-easterly gale through traditional English song with their discreetly provocative arrangements drawing on elements of blues, jazz, music-hall, burlesque cabaret, classical and leftfield contemporary music.

Endlessly inventive, they take unsentimental old, new and imaginatively borrowed stories of booze, brawls, loss and death and create the most hauntingly beautiful music. Their 2005 debut album Cruel Sister won Mojo Folk Album of the Year. Their 2007 follow-up album, The Bairns, was nominated for the Best Album award at the BBC Folk Awards 2008 (at which they went on to win the Horizon Award) and also nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.

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