BBC Radio 2 – Mike Harding
“I just caught you on Folk Alley – loved "Winter’s Run”.
DIRTY LINEN – Steven Ide
“Her songs are truly melody-driven, not piggybacked on chord changes; as a result, her compositions are crafted and elegant. Lydon’s is a voice that must be heard.”
THE MARSHFIELD MAIL – Cindi Elli
“…a superb performance by the multi-talented and multi-cultural Ariane Lydon. Performing in concert at the Jubilee Theater, Lydon closed her show to a standing ovation and encore as the audience chanted, “One more! One more”!
CHERISH THE LADIES – Joanie Madden, at the Xavier Performing Arts Center in WI
“After an evening with Ariane Lydon as our stand-in lead singer, we all wished she would join our group. She is a great, sultry singer and a funny, funny girl who can make 2,000 people roar with laughter.”
For the past 2 decades, Ariane Lydon has toured and performed at Folk Festivals, Performing Arts Centers, Listening Venues, Radio Stations, and House Concerts throughout the US and Canada. She has shared stages with such performers as John Renbourn, John Gorka, Loreena McKennit, Tom Paxton, John McCutcheon, Chris Proctor, Duck Baker, Harvey Reid, Jean Ritchie, Cherish The Ladies, and many more.
Ariane Lydon’s virtuosic touch on 12- and 6-string guitars, keyboards, Celtic harp, and bodhrán come from a long apprenticeship in music across three continents. Born in Sussex, England, to a British UN Director and a New York artist, Lydon lived in Santiago, Chile, until she was 10. Her mother, the daughter of a jazz and ragtime pianist, immersed Ariane in classical piano music from age 7. Both parents, instictive ethnomusicologists at heart, introduced her to an extensive range of classical and ethnic music from countries they had lived in or visited all over the world. The family could often be found singing in four-part harmony, playing musical instruments, and enjoying live performances.
Forced to leave Chile a year after the assassination of Allende in 1973, the Lydon family brought back many Spanish (Nueva Canción) recordings from that country in turmoil. With a move to Geneva, Switzerland, and then across the border into France, Ariane’s cultural base expanded to include the popular and folk music of Western Europe.
Her extensive training as a classical pianist led to a second-place finish at an International Piano Competition in Paris at age 14. Her own interest in composing began to manifest itself at the popular daily jam sessions that she co-founded with a fellow piano student at the International Lycée. However, a desire to study marine biology took her to southern England for three years where, unable to access a suitable piano, she turned her attention back to stringed instruments. Driven by an innate craving to create and collect music, Ariane taught herself steel-stringed guitar to accompany her singing. Joining the Worthing 6th Form College choir and becoming a fixture at the local pub sessions stimulated an interest to amplify her knowledge of music of her Welsh, British and Irish roots.
As the result of an unrelenting passion for music, Lydon cast off the idea of becoming even Jacques Cousteau’s deck hand and travelled to upstate New York in 1983 to attend college there. The undercurrent of music was vibrant, and her interest in American folk music quickly became nurtured by American family members, all musicians themselves. Preparations to spend a year of study in Moscow halted after the door to performing was suddenly opened. It was Lena Spencer who booked Ariane Lydon and hammer dulcimer virtuoso Jem Moore at her famous Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York. Upon hearing Ariane sing, Spencer insisted: “This is a voice the world needs to hear.”
That night was a turning point. Ariane hit the road with Jem Moore in a musical partnership that was to last 10 years, producing six recordings while performing at venues across North America. In 1997, she embarked on a new direction with the release of her solo album, Lady of the Green, supporting it with live concerts, jam sessions, and vocal and instrument workshops. Her ability to play the Celtic harp and 12-string guitar simultaneously on songs like “Fireflies” captivated audiences and critics alike, leading to the releases of the all-instrumental CDs, The Open Harp and Harp in Flower. 2004 saw the unveiling of the CD Still She Moves, recorded and mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Brett Huus and mastered by Bob Ludwig. It showcases Ariane’s continued evolution as a writer, singer, player, and performer. This upward trend is further emphasized in her full-length CD Listen to Crows, in which she is flanked by Natalie Merchant’s former drummer, Allison Miller, as well as Lindsey Horner on upright bass, and Grey Larsen on flutes & harmonium. Listen to Crows was also mastered by Grey Larsen, and has received widespread and healthy acclaim.
Current concerts occasionally include outstanding musical accompaniment of percussionists Terry Nirva (Bill Miller) or Rich MacDonald (Winona State Univ.) and upright bassists Larry Dalton or Karyn Quinn (UW La Crosse).
"Lydon’s throaty pipes instantly recall June Tabor’s, but she brings formidable talents of her own: sharp songwriting that uses imagery drawn from nature to illustrate a variety of human conditions; a light yet thoughtful touch in arranging traditional songs, and the amazing ability to play 12-string guitar and Celtic harp simultaneously, to beautiful effect. A voice almost athletic in its suppleness; an artist of rare versatility.”
Maureen Gerarden, WI
Madison Folk Music Society
“While her music is firmly based within the traditions of Anglo-Celtic folk song, Lydon manages to infer the pan-cultural and classical influences of her formative years. With mostly self-penned material, she avoids tweeness through her penetrating instrumental accomplishment.”
FRoots Magazine, UK
"The voice an angel would kill for – she could sing the Lloyds Shipping Register and it would still sound good. This is one classic album." [Listen to Crows]
Mike Harding – BBC Radio 2
"Singer and songwriter, simply doesn’t do justice to Ariane Lydon’s masterful work on six and twelve-string guitar, Celtic harp, keyboards and lyrics, not to mention her incredible voice.”
Sue Bausch – University of Wisconsin Washington County Performing Arts Center
"Ariane brings a genuine passion for the world as her gift from a life of observing. This genuine crow trait is to be found in her masterful instrumentation on every song she has chosen to share with us.
“Listen to Crows”, produced by Ariane Lydon and Randy Crafton, is Ariane’s most recent work, yet it is ancient. Filled with the wisdom shared through mystery stories, it is sung with a compelling voice and layered with instrumentation that holds the keen vision and voice of the crow. Thank you, my friend."
James Hallberg - WDRT 91.9 FM, Viroqua WI
"Lydon works on the repetition of words, weaving them into particularly strong, sweet melodies. Where she has a message, she encodes it subtly into the fiber of the song, such as the admonition to involve yourself in life in "Autumn Dance."
Rich Warren, Sing Out!