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   Martha Tilston  


Martha Tilston is daughter of revered songwriter Steve Tilston, and stepdaughter to folk singer Maggie Boyle. Over the past few years she has achieved recognition within the “new-folk” and festival scene, gaining a large word of mouth following in the UK and beyond.  She performs on her own or accompanied by her eclectic band The Woods. As a solo artist Martha has toured with Damien Rice, Fairport Convention, Roddy Frame, Hem, Nick Harper and her father, Steve Tilston. In January 2007, she was nominated for Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Her albums are: Of Milkmaids and Architects (2006), Ropswing (2006) Bimbling (2004) and Rolling (2003).



 Q: Do you think of your lyrics as poetry?

 A: Yes, in a way, but the tune is so intrinsic to the poetry of a song that the lyrics wouldn't necessarily work without the pentameter of the melody. I write poems as well as songs but they go in a different books, and I rarely show my poems to anyone. Songs were a way of being a writer without anyone checking my spelling ...

 Q: Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?

 A: I enjoy the way rhyme can be an inspiring restriction, but its importance isn't important.

 Q: Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognized song structures such as clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and bridges or that songs can also be like free verse?

 A: No, it can work in or out of established form, I enjoy it when creativity explores and challenges form. It’s hard to resist safety sometimes but truth, imagination and courage make experimenting worthwhile, even if we retreat back into our “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight and out” shells at times.

 Q: When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any connection to the music you enjoyed?

 A: Yes and no

 Q: Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your songwriting?

 A: Probably, I studied Shakespeare and wasn't aware at the time , but perhaps something in the rhythm and metaphor may have seeded in me, somewhere.

 Q: Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?

 A: I'd start by saying neither is more worthy than the other—we need it all at the moment! But song is a double whammy, music speaks every language on this planet with melody/ tune, evoking an understanding of the mood of a piece without the necessity of understanding the lyrical imagery. With spoken poetry the reader can express emotion and aid imagery with tone of voice and performance. On the page, however, poetry only speaks the language of the language it speaks.