Rachael McShane is a renowned folk singer, cellist, fiddle and viola player from the North East of England. She gained fame as an original member of the award-winning folk big band Bellowhead, touring with them extensively and making a number of television appearances. The band recorded five studio albums and, together, they won a staggering total of 8 BBC Folk Awards. Parting ways in 2016, the band returned in 2022 for a series of ecstatically-received performances that reminded audiences of their unique alchemy, energy and talent.
Away from her Bellowhead fame, Rachael is a much sought-after performer and recording artist. Her debut solo album, ‘No Man’s Fool’ arrived in 2009 via Navigator Records, establishing impressive credentials that eventually led her to signing with the prestigious Topic Records, the oldest independent record label in the world. She also is the leader of The Cartographers, a band that features the exceptional talents of guitarist Ian Stephenson (Kan, Baltic Crossing), and melodeon player Julian Sutton (Kathryn Tickell, Sting). Their music is a powerful blend of traditional folk and contemporary sounds, with Rachael's stunning voice and instrumental skills leading the line. The Cartographers have garnered a loyal following thanks to their impressive live performances and critically acclaimed debut album, “When All Is Still” (2018).
In recent years, Rachael has lent her voice to a new adaptation of The Transports alongside The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Matthew Crampton. The resulting album was a stunning showcase of Rachael's range as an artist, and is testament to her ability to breathe new life into old folk songs. With her extensive experience and formidable talent, Rachael McShane is a sought-after performer and workshop leader. Rachael McShane & The Cartographers are available now for concerts and festivals.
“You’re in the presence of something very special…what a voice” BBC Music
**** “A delight” R2 Magazine
**** “Delivered with such rebellious verve and wit – they are a life-affirming joy” Songlines
Equally adept on many instruments, Ian is primarily known as a guitar player, having played with bands such as Kan, Baltic Crossing, Andy May Trio. Ian rose to prominence on the folk scene after winning the BBC Young Folk Award back in 1999 with ‘422’. Since then he has played on nearly 100 albums as well as working on many others as producer or composer/arranger. Ian has always been involved with The Cartographers, recording and playing on the album as well as recording videos for the band. He officially became our guitarist in 2022.
Julian Sutton is a melodeon player from the North East of England. He has toured extensively with artists including Kathryn Tickell and Sting. He released his solo album 'Melodeon Crimes' in 2005 and has played on many great folk albums in recent years.