Maddy Prior's warm stage presence and clear ease in audience interaction give away her 50 years of experience in the industry. She is a performer with an enormous amount of generosity and openness and it was a joy to be part of the special connection she made with the happy audience at this gig.
The high ceiling and ornate banisters of the Holywell Music room came 50 metres closer as Maddy worked her magic on the room, fostering an environment of friendship and shared enjoyment. The storytelling which is a core part of folk music ran thickly through the show, with the internality which it deserves. Maddy told the narratives through song but also through gentle movement and expression (and indeed, through her spoken interludes between pieces, which were equal parts insightful and funny). The music seemed to come so naturally to her and her band that they could just 'be' on the stage, without needing to perform.
Which is not to say that the show was not professional and slick. The talented band (Hannah James and Giles Lewin) strongly supported Maddy (they made it look really easy to blend their voices in tight three-part harmonies) while getting the opportunity to showcase their individual talents, which were many. James, in particular, has many strings to her bow, including clog dancing, beautiful singing and accordian playing. There was a sense that she is a young performer with a big future ahead of her, and watching her interactions with Maddy - who is nearer the other end of her illustrious career - was really charming. Maddy even closed her eyes during James' solos, appreciating her soft bright voice.
Maddy's own voice is also gorgeous and versatile; the songs ranged from spooky English witch tales, to South American children's songs, to solid ballads. The standout for me was 'Fields of the Cloth of Gold', in which Maddy's voice soared.
The gig was particularly special for me because I was named after Maddy Prior and I went along to the concert with my Dad. Afterwards I met her in the foyer (she came to say goodbye as everyone left which was a generous gesture) and told her - she very obligingly reacted to my swooning. It seems nothing phases her! All in all, this was a special evening of lovely folk music.