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Norma Waterson: a distinctive voice of English folk

Norma Waterson RIP: the passing of a towering figure of folk music

I was shocked and saddened to hear today of the death of Norma Waterson, wife of Martin Carthy, mother of Eliza and a wonderful woman who has been so prominent in British folk music for so many decades. She was 82 and had been suffering from pneumonia.

Eliza posted this message at Facebook:

'Not much to say about such monumental sadness, but mam passed away yesterday afternoon, January 30th 2022.'

Please see The Guardian's obituary, written by Robin Denselow, at

Despite ailing health, Norma had been active on social media recently, notably with updates on Martin's own less serious health issues, A proper appreciation has now been published at



Norma waterson - 1


Image of Norma flanked by Martin and her late brother Mike. Courtesy of  Roger Liptrot's

Roger wrote of the photo: 

Martin Carthy, simply the finest singer/ guitarist the English folk scene has ever produced, Norma Waterson, a breathtakingly powerful singer of traditional songs and her brother Mike Waterson, one of the great interpreters of English song and a fine songwriter himself, are seen here supporting Peggy Seeger in May 2008.


Mike Dennison

This is a huge loss for music and dreadful news for her family.

IMO Norma was simply one of the greatest singers of her day as well as being enormously influential in the traditional music scene. I love her solo albums along with her work with Waterson Carthy and the Watersons.

One of the best concerts I have ever attended was a warm-up gig in a small hall in Galashiels in preparation for a Waterson Carthy tour. There is always a special power when families sing together and that evening was simply joyous.

My condolences to Martin, Eliza and the rest of her family - she will be sorely missed.

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