Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
Nancy Kerr and James Fagan are one of the best-known and most experienced folk duos on the British circuit today. Outstanding musicianship, a lifelong grounding in traditional singing and instrumental playing, acclaimed original compositions but most noticeably a visceral chemistry between these two make Kerr and Fagan a perennial favourite at festivals, venues and clubs across the country. They met in December 1995, and formed the duo and life partnership that has become the backbone of their professional career in music ever since. They won the inaugural Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2000, and were also the first ever recipients of the “Best Duo” Award, which they won in 2003, and again in 2011. They are one of only two acts ever to receive this honour twice (along with Spiers and Boden).
Nancy Kerr is the daughter of London singer-songwriter Sandra Kerr and Northumbrian piper Ron Elliott. Nancy is a simply outstanding writer of songs, one of England’s best-known folk fiddle players and in 2015 won “Folk Singer of the Year” at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. She is in constant demand as a songwriter, performer and teacher. As well as the duo with James, her recent work has included the multi-award-winning “The Full English” band, “The Elizabethan Session”, Melrose Quartet and the trio Simpson Cutting Kerr (with Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting). She is co-director of the Soundpost fiddle and singing workshop weekends in Sheffield. Her duo in the 1990s with Eliza Carthy saw her shoot to international prominence on the folk scene in her teens and she hasn’t looked back.
James Fagan was born in Australia and raised in a folk-singing family The Fagans. He is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, specialising in bouzouki, guitar and mandolin. As well as working side by side with Nancy for nearly two decades, James is part of Melrose Quartet and The James Brothers. James is constantly in demand as a session player and appears on albums by Cara Dillon, Martin Simpson, Brian Finnegan, Eliza Carthy and Spiers & Boden. He was part of Bellowhead for their Hedonism tour in 2010 and has been a regular member of the Cara Dillon Band, having played bouzouki on her latest two CDs. He is a core vocal tutor on the Newcastle University Folk Music Degree Course.
As a duo, Nancy and James have toured internationally, most notably in the British Isles, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. They have thousands of fans and despite now having two children continue to work and tour constantly from their home base in Sheffield. Starting a family has reduced the amount of time they can spend on the road together, so their duo shows are now special and sought-after events.