Gigspanner Big Band

As a trio, Gigspanner, formed by Steeleye Span's erstwhile fiddle player Peter Knight, “has taken traditional tunes as a starting point and rearranged, orchestrated and improvised around them to create fascinating new works”  Folk Radio UK

BBC Folk Award winners (Best Duo) Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin are described by The Guardian as being "Subtle, bravely original...a combination of virtuosity, intensity and charisma"

Their appearances together as the Gigspanner Big Band are a rare but highly sought after affair, thanks to performances of dazzling musicianship and arresting chemistry.

Unhindered by the limits of technical ability, they take self-penned material along with music rooted in the British Isles, and with the flick of a bow, a finely chosen chord or slip of a beat, produce richly atmospheric arrangements layered within a wealth of subliminal musical influences “with notes seemingly plucked from the stars and rhythms from the equator”.

Phil and Hannah were initially invited to guest on two shows on Gigspanner’s Layers of Ages launch tour in June 2015, but an immediate offer for the five piece line-up to Headline at the following year’s Bristol Folk Festival was the first indication that collaboration, albeit an occasional one, might have a future.

A six date tour followed in 2016, and this year the Gigspanner Big Band, as it has become known, launched its debut album ‘Live’ to coincide with a performance at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. Both their performance and the album were received with enthusiasm…

What a fabulous team they make, together producing a startlingly new musical form with few, if any, true antecedents. The flights of musical and interpretive fancy are staggering in their natural invention. 

Fatea Magazine

Gigspanner Big Band


"The Gigspanner Big Band are a unique musical proposition; they are taking folk music down new and enthralling paths. They are also one of the most exciting live bands you are likely to see this year (or any year, for that matter)"
FolkRadio UK

"Totally blown away by the spellbinding Gigspanner set at Cropredy2017. Lost for words...”
Folking. Com

"It takes a very special inner peace to have the confidence to do what these five egos, no pretensions, no nonsense - it is music from the heart presented by five top class performers for the sheer pleasure of it" 
Grapevine Magazine

Their connection does have some history. Commenting on the new album, Hannah wrote

"When I was nine or ten years old, my mum took me to see Steeleye Span at Sidmouth Folk Week.

I remember it so clearly - I was absolutely mesmerized by Peter's violin and Maddy's voice. It was a hugely formative experience for me; I got my first book of folk tunes, sat on Sidmouth beach, and started learning to play them. I simply could not have imagined then that I'd be writing this now - to announce the album we have made with Peter Knight and his wonderful band! Listening to the final mixes felt amazing; and emotional - I wanted to jump around and tell my nine year old self to keep practicing”!

Peter simply says of the collaboration “The Gigspanner Big Band was formed out of a mutual likeness and respect for each other's music

Edgelarks (Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin)

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