"... a powerful invocation; a soaring, spiralling incantation designed to lure humans, animals and other more shadowy creatures to join her in a wild dance...."
Fay Brotherhood, is a UK pagan folk singer from Leicestershire and based in Hertfordshire. Renowned for her expressive voice and unique delivery, her performances have invited a plethora of colourful comparisons. Some describe her as a "Nightingale on steroids". Others wonder if they're hearing the ghost of Sandy Denny and a few have dubbed her "the lovechild of Kate Bush and Jethro Tull".
Writing pagan folk songs of myth, magic and mother nature, Fay's music is a celebration of nature and dark folklore woven into the disparate strands of human experience. Her songs carry a Celtic overtone of ancient Britain; of battle fields and stone circles, packaged into deceptive, complex pieces of twisting and turning and liberating calls for freedom and justice.
Fay is also an artist and professional ecologist. Since December 2019 she has performed as the lead singer in pagan prog folk band Spriggan Mist and is a "Papette" in circus rock lunatics Papa Shango.
Fay Brotherhood's latest EP, Drawing Lines takes you on a dark journey through a dark night of the soul to face your shadow and stare down your ghosts.
These are a series of unreleased demo's written and recorded a decade ago and released as they are; unpolished, with clinks and dunks and the odd awkward compositional moment. However, they captured the mood of the time. A mood that cannot be re-captured with a decades distance.
Drawing Lines lays the thematic foundation for Fay's upcoming first professionally recorded album....
Brought up in Coalville, Leicestershire by musical parents, Fay was immersed in music from childhood.
Performing regularly all the way through school and sixth form, Fay taught herself guitar at age 14, whilst studying GCSE music, soon after which she began writing songs. At this time her music teacher pointed out her natural folk voice, and her subsequent explorations of the genre wove the likes of Maddy Prior, Sandy Denny, Melanie and Pentangle into her pantheon of influences. She was further inspired by the psychedelic and progressive sounds of the 60's/70's; in particular her favourite band, Jethro Tull. Whilst she never received formal tutoring, the coaching and experience in musical theatre Fay received from her music teacher during 6th form played a huge role in her vocal development,
Since 2009 Fay has performed at folk, fairy and pagan festivals across the UK and has an impressive CV of support slots, including Strawbs, Damh The Bard, Billie Mitchell (Lindisfarne), Dave Swarbrick, Carolyn Hillier, The Moulette’s, The Dolmen and Lucy Ward. She has mainly performed solo, but between 2012 and 2013, when she moved to Hertfordshire also performed as a duo with fiddle/mandolin player Lee Burns and five piece folk band Cernewoda. In 2015, her ode to the Boudiccan revolt, Blue Spiral Screams (available here) was released on Folkstock Records Femme Fatales of Folk compilation to critical acclaim, the album gaining a 4* Review from The Telegraph, inclusion in their Top Folk Albums of 2015, recommendation from The Sunday Times in their Culture section and airplay on BBC Radio 2, Radio 3 and BBC 6 Music,
Since 2019 Fay has performed as lead singer in Pagan folk rock behemoth Spriggan Mist and as a backing singer in circus rock band Papa Shango.
Fay has home produced four albums, her latest the Drawing Line EP released in January 2020 and is planning her first studio recorded album for release in late 2021.
"...a lyrically unhinged and liberating call to power and freedom..."
".. a pagan masterpiece that conveys a seeking of mystery and wonder without treading the cliches of music attached to dark folklore..."
."..There is a depth of expression in her voice and a desire to be heard and to be different that stands high above, like a sentinel..."
"...If Fay Brotherhood stood up to speak in one of our ancient gathering places, I think we could all expect Fire and Brimstone more deeply felt, more real and chilling than any Christian priest could manage to mumble about...."
"...The voice is like a Valkyrie maiden, a rousing, intricate and interpretive free voice that reels you in..."
"...It has that native American feel to it and wouldn't be out of place at the sixties and early seventies festivals such as Woodstock and Isle of White..."
"...FUCKING AWESOME..." - Chris Holms, W.A.S.P
"...It’s unusual to hear an artist making such beautiful music out of themes that could easily get bogged down in parochialisms and cliché, but Fay’s way with a lilting tune is spellbinding..."
"...her performance was enchantingly gripping..."
"...wow where did that voice come from? I nearly had a crash on the M69 on the way to work when Dirty Secret kicked in. Is this the ghost of Sandy Denny?.."
Leicestershire born and Hertfordshire based Fay Brotherhood (born June 14th, 1984) is an English pagan folk singer-songwriter, professional ecologist and fine artist making waves on the Pagan music scene, both for her solo work and her vibrant performances as the lead singer of Spriggan Mist, whom she joined in 2019. She also dons hotpants and squirty cream as a Papette in circus rock eccentrics Papa Shango. Her supremely confident vocal performances and onstage dynamism have earned her a colourful array of descriptions and comparisons, from a nightingale on steroids and the ghost of Sandy Denny to the lovechild of Kate Bush and Jethro Tull.
Since 2003, Fay has released five home recorded albums and EP’s. Since 2009 Fay has played all manner of folk festivals and pagan events around the UK and was a stalwart of the acoustic scene in Leicester from 2010 to 2013, where she played solo, as part of the Fay Brotherhood and Lee Burns duo and with folk rock band Cernewoda. She has an impressive CV of support slots, including Strawbs, Damh The Bard, Dave Swarbrick, The Moulette’s and Lucy Ward. After her band Cernewoda disbanded in 2013, Fay moved to Hertfordshire where she quickly built up a reputation as a musical force to be reckoned with. In 2015, her ode to the Boudicccan revolt, Blue Spiral Screams (available here) was released on Folkstock Records Femme Fatales of Folk compilation to critical acclaim, the album gaining a 4* Review from The Telegraph, inclusion in their Top Folk Albums of 2015, recommendation from The Sunday Times in their Culture section and airplay on BBC Radio 2, Radio 3 and BBC 6 Music,
Fay is inspired mainly by folk, classic rock and prog rock and her influences include; Jethro Tull Seth Lakeman Tori Amos Smoke Fairies Buffy Sainte-Marie Steeleye Span, Sandy Denny Jack Bruce Sharon Knight Damh The Bard Led Zeppelin Syd Barrett Pentangle Galley Beggar Jefferson Airplane.
Born and raised in Coalville, Leicestershire, Fay has music in her blood. Her mum a singer and her dad a bassist, they played together in blues and function bands throughout her childhood. Following in their footsteps, she has been singing since she could speak. She wrote her first song when she was 10 but didn’t start writing in earnest until the age of 14.
Studying for her music GCSE, and frustrated with the need to find accompaniment every time she wanted to perform, she dragged out a battered old classical guitar from under her parent’s bed. A guitar bought a year ago for her sister who wanted to learn but quickly grew bored. Her Dad kept it, knowing that someday soon Fay would pick it up. And as Dad’s so often are, he was right.
In teaching herself to play guitar, not only did she find the freedom of being able to accompany herself, but she found a whole new way of expressing herself and that chasm of angst that dwells in every teenager. She continued to develop this skill throughout her sixth form studies in performing arts, encouraged and coached by an incredible music teacher who was the first to identify her “folk voice” and constantly pushed her to improve. Since then, she has taught herself to play bouzouki, mandolin, tenor guitar and recorder/penny whistle.
(Apparently, so her mum says she could play recorder at primary school. Fay has no recollection of this whatsoever but figures that must be why she can play the recorder).
After sixth form and ever spurred on by a feverish love of learning, Fay went on to study a range of ecological subjects. From 2005 to 2017, she gained a National Diploma in Countryside Management, a Degree in Wildlife Conservation and finally a Masters in Environmental Management, her academic journey eventually leading to work as an ecological consultant, which she now balances with the music and art sides of her life.. Her studies in ecology form a background theme running all the way through her work, Fay finding natural lore and ecological theory a fertile pool of metaphor.