Martha Tilston
Tilston performed at Southampton's Art House Cafe on Thursday

Cornish Folk singer Martha Tilston creates a grounding connection between her and the audience.

Last Thursday, Southampton’s alternative Arts House Café opened its doors to Martha Tilston’s travelling whim. The venue, found on Above Bar Street, is a perfect setting for acoustic shows. I had the pleasure of sitting in a reclined chair while many sat on sofas. The café has a lulling atmosphere; vegetarian and vegan food, beer, cake, tea, art and hand crafted ornaments are all available.

Martha Tilston is, amongst the circle of folk, well respected for her music. She is a daughter of Steve Tilston one of the genres greatest. I and many others will be aware of through the work she’s done with transgressive dance group Zero 7 on the tune Pop Art Blue. She has released ten albums and worked with Damien Rice on tour throughout her career. Most excitingly of all, found solace and her drive in sound at the traveling Small World Solar Stage, which can be found in the carnival themed area of Glastonbury.

Full of merry folk 

It is prominent within the conventions of folk music to reject and disengage with political society, whether that be wholly or as an adversarial statement. Her sound is entrenched in this desire to be free and songs like Nomad Blood explain this eternalising pain that travellers are discovering. The audience felt it first-hand  when we we were asked to sing the chorus back to Martha.

Her work encapsulates this muffled hope that life itself is all about. The lyrics spoke about why we must set our souls free, becoming one with the musical side of nature. This concert really helped me to level something within myself. There is something within folk roots that grow within all of us, bending and rerouting our fate, coming to terms with what it is asking us to do.

“Music that cherishes the practice of community” 

The songs were relaxing and reflected her appreciation for nature. The brilliant song Stories says a lot about being a musician and trying to speak to everyone in the audience all at once whilst remaining sincere to the fact that a song can only have so much emotional power. Another great tune was Artificial which had a lot to say about the processes of modern life and work.

All in all it was a brilliant event. I see the desire of musicians like these to instigate flashes of passion in their audiences. Tilston and her peers in this genre have a lot to be proud of. Their music represents a travelling, ascending cult that cherishes the practice of community. These are engrossing sounds that challenge our evils and nurture our better nature which asks us to be conscious and stand up to changes we have to face in our realities.