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Kate Anna Rusby (born 4 December 1973 in Sheffield, Englandmarker), is an English folk singer and songwriter from Penistonemarker, South Yorkshiremarker. Sometimes known as The Barnsley Nightingale, she has headlined various Britishmarker national folk festivals, and is regarded as one of the most famous English folk singers of contemporary times. In 2001 The Guardian described her as "a superstar of the British acoustic scene." In 2007 the BBC website described her as "The first lady of young folkies". She is one of the few folk singers to have been nominated for the Mercury Prize.


Rusby was born into a family of musicians. After learning to play the guitar, the fiddle, and the piano, as well as to sing, she played in many local folk festivals as a child and adolescent, before joining (and becoming the lead vocalist of) the all-female Celtic folk band The Poozies. Her breakthrough album came in 1995. A collaboration with her friend and fellow Barnsley folk singer Kathryn Roberts was simply titled "Kate Rusby & Kathryn Roberts". In 1997, with the help of her family, she recorded and released her first solo album, Hourglass. Since then she has gone on to receive acclaim in her home country and abroad, and her family continues to help her with all aspects of her professional career.

Rusby was also a member of the folk group Equation, later to be replaced by Cara Dillon. The early line-up also featured Rusby's erstwhile performing partner Kathryn Roberts and Mercury-nominated artist Seth Lakeman. Their demo CD, In Session, had a small commercial release.

The previously unreleased song "Wandering Soul" was Rusby's contribution to the soundtrack for Billy Connolly's World Tour of New Zealand, an eight-part BBC television documentary series originally broadcast in November 2004.

A collaboration with Ronan Keating saw Rusby riding high in the UK singles chart; their duet "All Over Again" peaking at no.6 in June 2006. She also made a large vocal contribution to the successful debut solo album of Roddy Woomble, the lead singer of Idlewild. In the same year her cover of The Kinks' "The Village Green Preservation Society" was used as the theme tune to the BBC One television sitcom Jam & Jerusalem. Rusby has written several new songs for the newest series of Jam & Jerusalem and is credited as responsible for the show's music.

Launched at the 2007 Cambridge Folk Festival, the album Awkward Annie was released on 3 September 2007. "The Village Green Preservation Society" is included as a bonus track.

Personal Life

In August 2001, Rusby married Scottish fiddler and fellow band member John McCusker (formerly of the Battlefield Band), who produced most of her recordings up through The Girl Who Couldn't Fly. They have since divorced.

Rusby lives with her partner Damien O'Kane and her dog Doris, herself a mainstay feature of Rusby's banter during gigs and appearing on her merchandise. Their first child, Daisy Delia Rusby O'Kane was born at 9.45am on the 15 September 2009, weighing in at 8lb 5oz.


Solo albums


Mercury Music Prize

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

  • 2000: Folk Singer of the Year — winner
  • 2000: Best Album: Sleeplesswinner
  • 2002: Best Original Song: "Who Will Sing Me Lullabies" — winner
  • 2006: Best Original Song: "No Names" (with Roddy Woomble from Idlewild) — nominated
  • 2006: Best Album: The Girl Who Couldn't Fly — nominated
  • 2006: Best Live Act — winner

References and notes

  1. " Biography" (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  2. Denselow, Robin; "Kate Rusby — Queen Elizabeth Hall, London", 28 June 2001 (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  3. Wilson, Sue; "Lost love and other heartbreaks", 18 June 2001 (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  4. "No sure bets for Mercury", 7 September 1999 (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  5. "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006: Previous Winners" (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  6. "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006: Winners" (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)

External links

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