- 31 Jan 22
"Norma’s music has been a big influence on what we’ve done as a band, particularly in terms of vocal harmonies," Lankum stated. "And her contribution to the music on these islands over the last 6 decades has been nothing short of colossal."
Norma Waterson, best known as one of the original members of the renowned English folk group The Watersons, has died, aged 82.
Her daughter, folk musician Eliza Carthy, shared the news this morning on social media – confirming that Norma passed away yesterday afternoon.
"Thinking of everyone who has supported and donated and just been there for us the last few weeks, the last few years, and through all of her triumphs and trials," she commented. 'Our only hope is that she is with Lal and Mike and her mum and dad now, being held and welcomed and finally without pain."
After first rising to prominence in the '60s, as a member of The Watersons – alongside her brother Mike, her sister Lal, and their cousin John Harrison – Norma released her self-titled solo album in 1996. The project was nominated for the Mercury Prize, and featured contributions from her daughter Eliza, her husband Martin Carthy, other members of The Watersons, Danny Thompson, Richard Thompson and more. She went on to release more solo albums, as well as collaborative projects with Eliza.
Recently, Eliza had shared a link for donations to the Carthy family, who she said were "struggling to survive the pandemic" – noting that Norma had been "unable to perform for years due to illness", and was in hospital with pneumonia at the time.
Lankum are among the many acts who have paid tribute to Norma today, following the news of her death.
"Incredibly sad to hear this news," the Dublin group wrote on Instagram. "The few times we met Norma she was nothing but warm, welcoming and entirely encouraging, including the time we invaded her kitchen acting the absolute maggot while she rested upstairs, and she told us to carry on because hearing the Irish accents downstairs reminded her of her home as a child.
"Norma’s music has been a big influence on what we’ve done as a band, particularly in terms of vocal harmonies, and her contribution to the music on these islands over the last 6 decades has been nothing short of colossal," they continued. "Our love and thoughts to Martin, Eliza and the whole family."
Billy Bragg also noted that he was "very sorry" to hear the news, describing her as "one of the defining voices of English traditional music."
See more tributes to Norma Waterson below:
There is nothing I can say that expresses the importance of Norma Waterson and her family in my musical and personal life over the last 50 plus years. This poster is from my late teens and it remains one of my proudest possessions. We have lost so much. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/wgHnO6yec8
— Martin Simpson (@msimpsonian) January 31, 2022
TradFest Temple Bar is saddened to learn of the passing of Norma Waterson. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Martin, Eliza Carthy and family. May she rest in peace 💚 https://t.co/3hRZwnxujB
— TradFest Temple Bar | #IrelandInMusic (@TempleBarTrad) January 31, 2022
— BISHI (@bishi_official) January 31, 2022
Norma Waterson rest in peace. One of the great English folk singers https://t.co/dRxELPHP37
— Leagues O'Toole // Foggy Notions (@foggynotions) January 31, 2022
In memory of the inspirational singer, Norma Waterson, who passed away yesterday. We will be posting a tribute to our website this morning. A true folk legend. RIP. All our thoughts are with Martin, Eliza and the children. pic.twitter.com/12p9TaQnn1
— Tradfolk.co (@Tradfolketc) January 31, 2022
The folk singer Norma Waterson has died aged 82.
In this clip from 1983, she talks about her family band's distinctive harmony singing and why a good traditional song is "like a piece of nice old furniture". pic.twitter.com/UATLelA0BF
— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) January 31, 2022
RIP Norma Waterson. Here she is with family and friends last summer. https://t.co/zeHaJ9sx0w
— angus young (@angus_young61) January 31, 2022
Listen to An Introduction To Norma Waterson below: