St Agnes, Isles of Scilly. 49°53′N, 06°21′W. Population: 80
A tiny scrap of wind-carved rock, gorsey downland and fine sand dropped 28 miles from mainland Cornwall, with a vibrant working community encompassed by the Atlantic Ocean. The Rough Island Band (RIB) sprouted from this precarious speck of soil in 2009 when an island piper whistled in the wind for three musicians in love with the place and its people.
Their songs reflect the feeling that a community’s history and stories should be set and celebrated in music. Unusually for a Celtic outpost, St Agnes has no surviving indigenous music. Stories of shipwreck and rescue, tunes for dancing and evocations of landscape have been written by RIB in response to an extraordinary place, alongside borrowed and adapted traditional Cornish music.
Incorporating a wide range of instrumental and vocal textures, RIB craft a personal and contemporary sound, firmly rooted in the folk tradition. The individual members bring together a variety of influences and experience: from performing as members of Bellowhead, The Spooky Men’s Chorale and the Maddy Prior Trio,; to their own solo projects such as The Little Unsaid and Full of Noises; as well as running folk festivals and events across the Scilly Isles and throughout the UK.
John Elliott - Joe Keelan - Piers Lewin - James Sills
Guest Fiddler - Giles Lewin