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Music

Norma Waterson, iconic British folk star, dies aged 82

Norma Waterson’s family has announced the death of the British folk singer. No cause of death has been revealed at this time, but Waterson’s daughter Eliza Carthy paid tribute to her mother on social media.

“Not much to say about such monumental sadness, but mam passed away yesterday afternoon, January 30th 2022,” Eliza wrote on Facebook.

Eliza took this opportunity to thank the many people who had helped the family out, either by supporting them financially or helping them out in other ways. “Our only hope is that she is with Lal and Mike and her mum and dad now,” she continued, “Being held and welcomed and finally without pain”.

The post includes a snippet of poetry, which reads:

“Just a song at Twilight, when the lights are low;
And the drifting shadows softly come and go;
Though your heart be weary, sad the day and long;
Still to me at twilight comes love’s sweet song;
Comes love’s old sweet song”.

The message concluded with a message from the daughter saying goodbye to the woman who taught her to walk, talk and sing: “Going to bring you home as soon as we can”.

Guitarist Billy Bragg paid tribute to the singer on Twitter, writing: “Very sorry to hear that Norma Waterson, the last of the singing Watersons from Hull, has passed away”. Describing her as one of the “defining” voices of traditional English music, the ‘New England’ writer felt that she would be badly missed.

Chris Thorpe-Tracey similarly uploaded his thoughts online, stating: “Norma Waterson was one of the greatest folk artists we’ve had. A beacon, someone who shaped our music, who sang us what we needed to hear. Love and condolences to the Waterson/Carthy family, as well as the folk community who will miss her hugely”.

Waterson prided herself as a storyteller, as much as she did a singer. “Absolutely, it’s traditions,” she revealed in an interview. She noted that unlike the people in Scotland, Ireland, and parts of Africa, people in England tend to get left behind in their back catalogue.

Stream one of her performances below.