As a trio, Gigspanner, formed by Steeleye Span’s erstwhile fiddle player Peter Knight, “has taken traditional tunes as a starting point and rearranged, orchestrated and improvised around them to create fascinating new works” Folk Radio UK
BBC Folk Award winners (Best Duo) Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin are described by The Guardian as being “Subtle, bravely original…a combination of virtuosity, intensity and charisma”
Their appearances together as the Gigspanner Big Band are a rare but highly sought after affair, thanks to performances of dazzling musicianship and arresting chemistry.
Unhindered by the limits of technical ability, they take self-penned material along with music rooted in the British Isles, and with the flick of a bow, a finely chosen chord or slip of a beat, produce richly atmospheric arrangements layered within a wealth of subliminal musical influences “with notes seemingly plucked from the stars and rhythms from the equator”.
Phil and Hannah were initially invited to guest on two shows on Gigspanner’s Layers of Ages launch tour in June 2015, but an immediate offer for the five piece line-up to Headline at the following year’s Bristol Folk Festival was the first indication that collaboration, albeit an occasional one, might have a future.
A six date tour followed in 2016, and last year the Gigspanner Big Band, as it has become known, launched its debut album ‘Live’ to coincide with a performance at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. Both their performance and the album were received with enthusiasm.