The Brothers Gillespie are a traditional folk song duo from Northumberland, whose music combines searing sibling vocal harmony with arrangements of guitar, fiddle, mandolin and shruti box. Their repertoire spans material from Scotland, Northumberland, England, Ireland, the traveler tradition, border ballads and their own compositions. Strongly rooted in place, they descend beneath the national boundaries to find the common ground beneath us and to draw new power in the retelling of our histories. In their music you can hear the voice of this land and feel the power of the deep Celtic taproot that lies beneath.
James and Sam Gillespie were born in Newcastle, to parents of Scottish and English descent, and grew up roaming the Northumbrian fells along the line of the old Roman wall. Music was always a part of their shared lives but in 2013 they decided to formally collaborate. In 2015 they recorded and released their first album together ‘Songs From The Outlands’ which had come from a vision to record a collection of songs from all over the Isles which spoke the wild, dark, luminous language of the land and its forgotten people. The songs chosen emerged over a period of years, in sessions in Edinburgh and Northumberland, from old field recordings, songs round the campfire, records found by chance and the setting of old poems to music, and honed by walking the land and busking, playing kitchen sessions and in taverns.
Since releasing ‘Songs From The Outlands’ The Brothers Gillespie have been touring extensively through England and Scotland in 2016, including opening for Sam Lee at the Howard Assembly rooms, and opening for Lynched, playing The Den at Cambridge Folk Festival, Festival No6 and Shambala, as part of the Nest Collective and Music on the Marr, The Davy Lamp Folk Club, BAA Fest, Allen Valleys Folk Fest, Alnwick International Festival, The Hearth at Horsey, Unamplifire Festival and several other folk festivals and folk clubs.
‘The Brothers Gillespie have finally arrived! And with them bringing a texture and spirit to folk songs new and old that captures all the earthly magic, shining with classic troubadourian wholesomeness so often attempted but rarely as genuine as you’ll find here. All of course marinated in the glorious tones of their ‘blood harmony’ for there is no sound as sweet as when siblings sing.’ Sam Lee
“Weaving an especially compelling magic that’s generated by its very nakedness and intrinsic wildness, the music of the Brothers feeds off the primal power of the landscape… The music on their debut disc is entirely captivating… this fantastic CD is surely destined to become one of my albums of 2016.” David Kidman, FRUK
“Well this is a rare treat… These are the kind of tunes that appear to have been constructed from bracken and wildflowers and are quietly superb.” The Crack Magazine
“We are inspired in our music by wildness, the power and magic of place, by storytelling and poetry. We feel music to play a vital role in bringing about deeper communion between people, enriching our experience and giving voice and embodiment to spiritual, cultural and political ideas. We aspire to sing in honour of the spirits, of lands, cultures, tongues and silences, ways of being that lie beyond the centres of control.” The Brothers Gillespie