Emily Portman (ENG) is, with the likes of Kate Rusby, Ange Hardy and Jackie Oates, in the top tier of contemporary British female folk singers/musicians who each stamp their own unique mark on the music. Her so far three solo albums document the art of a singular talent who marks her own boundaries in this particular music scene. She is also a member of The Furrow Collective.
Emily Portman’s music might be described, with some reservations, as progressive or art folk. She paints her audio landscape in all-acoustic watercolours that seem at first fragile but in even brief closer inspection reveal a strong artistic spirit and a powerful vision.
With small-scale but brilliant arrangements, the songs sparkle with the minutest details and musical ideas. Even when she works with traditional material, she makes it very much her own, with each fiddle pizzicato, flute pattern and vocal harmony thought out and expressive, the resulting aural experience often close to hypnotic. It’s very meticulous but never cold.
Her lyrics contain many allusions to natural phenomena, landcscapes and dreams that weave themselves into stories and allegories about people. It’s the closest to a Jungian mindscape I have so far encountered in this area of music, and it’s totally enchanting.
Emily Portman’s music is a kaleidoscopic experience that may be best enjoyed as an immersive experience in your own peace and quiet – something I very much recommend. Here’s hoping for a long career for her multi-dimensional music and words.