Tickell's roots are in the North Tyne Valley of Northumberland,
where many of her relatives still play traditional music. Her father
Mike Tickell is an acclaimed performer of the songs of this area.
Kathryn took up the Northumbrian smallpipes at the age of nine and
by the age of thirteen had won all the traditional open smallpipes
competitions and was rapidly making a name for herself as a fiddle
At the age of sixteen Kathryn released her first album, "On Kielderside".
Two years later, in 1986, she turned professional, immediately entering
a busy touring schedule throughout Britain & abroad, as well as
recording her second album, "Borderlands" which was the first recording
to include her own compositions.
In 1990 the Kathryn Tickell Band was formed. The next few years
saw Kathryn putting all her energy into the band, recording the
albums, "The Kathryn Tickell Band" and, "Signs" and touring extensively
throughout the world. However she still found time to compose music
for two of Newcastle's Live Theatre Company productions, to present
a series of programmes for Radio 2, record with the Penguin Cafe
Orchestra and with The Chieftains. During this time Kathryn also
contributed to Sting albums, as well as joining him to play live
at Newcastle City Hall & also on TV.
In March 1997 Kathryn's sixth album, "The Gathering" was released
to great critical acclaim and led to appearances on Later with Jools
Holland and playing live on Andy Kershaw's Radio 1 show. In May,
Sting, Jimmy Nail & Kathryn hit the stage of the Carnegie Hall,
New York, performing, "The Waters of the Tyne" at a benefit concert
in aid of the Rainforest Foundation. The song has also been recorded
for a benefit CD, "Carnival".
In 1998 Kathryn released, "The Northumberland Collection", an album
featuring various musicians and singers from the county. She also
became Gateshead's Composer in Education, working with three primary
schools and the Gateshead Youth Orchestra. 1999 saw Kathryn touring
with her new band & releasing her eighth album, "Debateable Lands".
2000 was another exciting year with, "Lordenshaws" Kathryn's piece
for pipes & small ensemble, being penned, toured and broadcast.
The other major project of the year was, Ensemble Mystical - An
exciting new group set up by Kathryn and including musicians from
classical, jazz and folk backgrounds. The CD, "Kathryn Tickell &
Ensemble Mystical" was released in the Autumn and was followed by
a sell out tour.
2001 saw Kathryn touring in Uganda, Canada, Italy, France and the
UK. Collaboration with jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard resulted in
a major multi-media work, which was premiered at the opening of
the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. It was also released as a limited
edition CD (Music for a New Crossing). Since September 2001 Kathryn
has been a part -time lecturer on the new Folk and Traditional Music
degree course at Newcastle University. More information can be found