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Lisa Knapp

Born 1974 and raised by her single mother in Balham, south London – she admits to being a distant relative to horror actor Boris Karloff – Lisa found folk music by way of raiding a friend’s parents’ record collection. Inspired by SHIRLEY COLLINS, MADDY PRIOR and SANDY DENNY, and wanting to create her own interpretations, she rediscovered her love of the fiddle and employed London-Irish tutor Peter Cooper to teach her advanced techniques.
Finally, through singing at a host of festivals and folk clubs in the early 00s, she was just about to go professional when she was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma. Containing the tumour to a minimum, she found love in the shape of former SIN E musician, Gerry Diver, who married her in 2003 (she subsequently gave birth to their daughter) having already invited her to guest on his `Diversions’ album a year previously.
Back on track, KNAPP worked with Messrs Youth and CHRIS WOOD, while her new hubby took the controls for her debut set, WILD AND UNDAUNTED (2007) {*8}. With a voice so crystal clear and reminiscent of folk forebears ANNE BRIGGS or JEANNIE ROBERTSON, her subtle, back-to-basics formula worked on a treat on such passionate pictorials as `Beggar, Beggar’, `The Dew Is On The Ground’, `Little Bird’ and the title track. What she was up to since her joint tour in 2009 with fellow-folkie(s) JAMES YORKSTON & The Athletes, was not clear, but by 2012, KNAPP was ready to embark on further undertakings by way of a seasonal CD-r EP, `Hunt The Hare – A Branch Of May’.
Embracing the two parts of `HtH’ (helped out by ALASDAIR ROBERTS), her long-awaiting HIDDEN SEAM (2013) {*7} had folk fans from all corners of Old Blighty (including BBC Radio 2 and Mark Radcliffe) whetting their lips with anticipation. Aided and abetted by JAMES YORKSTON on `Black Horse’, MARTIN CARTHY on `Two Ravens’ and KATHRYN WILLIAMS on closing piece, `Hushabye’, the velveteen whisper of Lisa K was something akin to a folky BJORK – and that’s a compliment.
With her “Ear To The Ground” – in respects to her new sponsors – LISA KNAPP garnered plaudits a-plenty for her third album, the trad-themed TILL APRIL IS DEAD: A GARLAND OF MAY (2017) {*7}. The record was once again produced by multi-instrumentalist Gerry Diver, whilst Pete Flood (of BELLOWHEAD) augmented on percussion. Inspired by legends of acapella-folk, The COPPER FAMILY (at least on the opening salvo, `The Night Before May Day’), the fearless Lisa’s spring-into-summer songs branched out ever-further into freak-folk terrain; `Staines Morris’, the moonlit highlight, was helped along by CURRENT 93’s David Tibet. Another wondrous “Wicker-Man”-like winner came by way of the title track (very THIS IS THE KIT); matched only by GRAHAM COXON and Mary Hampton’s respective vocal contributions on `Searching For Lambs’ and `Bedfordshire May Carol’. The coy and canny sound of cuckoos only mirrored Lisa’s magpie manifesto to endow modern-day folk music with a much-needed injection of ye olde class.
© MC Strong 2011/GFD2 // rev-up MCS Dec2013-Jun2019

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